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North Carolina 
Historical Review 

Issued quarterly 

Volume XXV Numbers 1-4 



Published by 

Corner of Edenton and Salisbury streets 
Raleigh, N. C. 


Published by the State Department of Archives and History 

Raleigh, N. C. 

Chbistophee Crittenden, Editor 
David Leroy Coebitt, Managing Editor 


Robert Digges Wimberly Connor Walter Clinton Jackson 

Adelaide Lisetta Fries 


Robert Digges Wimberly Connor, Chairman 
James Allan Dunn Clarence Wilbur Griffin 

William Thomas Laprade Mrs. Sadie Smathers Patton 

Gertrude Sprague Carraway McDaniel Lewis 

Christopher Crittenden, Director 

This review was established in January, 192Jf, as a medium of publi- 
cation and discussion of history in North Carolina. It is issued to other 
institutions by exchange, but to the general public by subscription only. 
The regular price is $2.00 per year. To members of the State Literary 
and Historical Association there is a special price of $1.00 per year. 
Bach numbers may be procured at the regular price of $2.00 per volume, 
or $.50 per number, 


The North Carolina 
Historical Review 




Clifford Reginald Hinshaw, Jr. 


Richard Bardolph 



Hugh Talmage Lefler 


Hugh Buckner Johnston 


Hobbs's and Bond's North Carolina Today — By Paul Murray; 
Lingle's Memories of Davidson College — By George W. Pas- 
chal; Atkins's Extracts from the Diary of Benjamin Elber- 
field Atkins, "A Teacher of the Old School," 1848-1909— By 
Paul Murray; Williams's William Tatham, Wataugan — By 
Archibald Henderson ; Brewster's Summer Migrations and 
Resorts of South Carolina Low Country Planters — By Nell 
Hines; Coulter's Georgia: A Short History — By Paul Mur- 
ray; Howard's The British Development of West Florida, 
1763-1769 — By REMBERT W. PATRICK; SHANNON'S The Civil 
War Letters of Sargeant Onley Andrus — By Paul Murray; 
S wanton's The Indians of Southeastern United States — By 
Douglas L. Rights ; Padover's Thomas Jefferson and the Na- 
tional Capital — By Gilbert L. Lycan ; English's The Pioneer 
Lawyer and Jurist in Missouri — By Charles S. Sydnor; 
Link's Wilson; The Road to the White House — By Alice B. 
Keith ; Twelfth Annual Report of the Archivist of the United 
States for the Year Ending June 30, 1936 — By Alice B. 


[ iii ] 


iv Contents 

NUMBER 2, APRIL, 1948 


B. H. Nelson 


BANKING POLICY, 1829-1832 167 

Elizabeth Stone Hoyt 


1843 179 


CEMBER 5, 1947 


Mrs. Ernest A. Branch 

1783-1800 194 

Alice Barnwell Keith 


Richard Walser 

1946-1947 : A REVIEW 212 

Lodwick Hartley 


Hardin Craig 


Julian P. Boyd 


Mary Lindsay Thornton 


WHITENER'S Prohibition in North Carolina, 17 15-19 U5— By 
James W. Patton ; Wilson's The Chronicles of the Sesquicen- 
tennial — By David A. Lockmiller; Johnson's The First 
Captain: The Story of John Paul Jones — By Weymouth T. 
Jordan; Wager's North Carolina: The State and Its Govern- 
ment — By Gilbert L. Lycan ; Ricks's The Hunters Horn — By 
Robert M. Langdon; Burgwyn's River Treasure — By Beth 
Crabtree; Govan's and Livingood's The University of Chat- 
tanooga; Sixty Years — By Weymouth T. Jordan ; Wharton's 
The Negro in Mississippi, 1865-1890 — By TlNSLEY L. SPRAG- 
GINS; Vandiver's The Civil War Diary of General Josiah 
Gorgas — By W. F. Burton; Wyllie's Preliminary Checklist 
for Abingdon, 1807-1876; Number I of the Virginia Imprint 
Series — By W. F. Burton; Chandler's Land Title Origins: 
A Tale of Force and Fraud — By Stuart Noblin ; Simkins's 
The South, Old and New: A History, 1820-19 U7 — By R. S. 




NUMBER 3, JULY, 1948 

SOUTH 289 

Wendell H. Stephenson 


Roland C. McConnell 


John Shepard, Jr. 



Edgar W. Knight 


Tilley's and Goodwin's Guide to the Manuscript Collections in 
the Duke University Library — By Frontis W. Johnston; 
Wettach's A Century of Legal Education — By Armistead M. 
Dobie; Smith's This Troubled Century: Selected Addresses of 
Henry Louis Smith — By Paul Murray; Flournoy's Benja- 
min Mosby Smith, 1811-1893 — By Robert M. Langdon; Mere- 
dith's The Face of Robert E. Lee in Life and in Legend — By 
Charles S. Sydnor; Wright's The Atlantic Frontier; Colo- 
nial American Civilization — By Chalmers G. Davidson; 
Pierson's Graduate Work in the South — By Newton Ed- 
wards ; Franklin's The Diary of James T. Ayers, Civil War 
Recruiter — By J, Carlyle Sitterson ; Dawson's Lakanal The 
Regicide: A Biographical and Historical Study of the Career 
of Joseph Lakanal — By Weymouth T. Jordan ; Barck's and 
Blake's Since 1900 — By R. S. Cotterill; Parker's and 
Ropp's Historical Background of the World Today — By C. H. 


vi Contents 


The Negro in the Thinking and Writing of John 

Spencer Bassett 427 

Wendell H. Stephenson 

Alexander Hamilton and the North Carolina 

Federalists 442 

Gilbert L. Lycan 

Operation Reconstruction : A Report on Southern 

Unionist Planters 466 

Frank Wysar Klingberg 

The Robert J. Miller Papers, 1813-1831 485 

D. L. Corbitt 

Book Reviews , 522 

COULTER'S The South During Reconstruction, 1865-1877 — By WIL- 
LIAM A. Mabry; Vandiver's Confederate Blockade Running 
Through Bermuda, 1861-1865; Letters and Cargo Manifests — 
By William P. Roberts ; Dick's The Dixie Frontier, A Social 
History of Southern Frontier from the First Transmontane 
Beginnings to the Civil War — By Clement Eaton; Day- 
ton's Pioneers and Their Homes on Upper Kanawha — By 
Bennett H. Wall; Robinson's Judge Robert McAlpin Wil- 
liamson, Texas* Three-Legged Willie — By Jefferson Davis 
Bragg ; Jones's The Hatfields and the McCoys — By William P. 
CUMMING; Bardolph's Agricultural Literature and the Early 
Illinois Farmer — By Rosser H. Taylor; Klingberg's A Free 
Church in a Free State — America's Unique Contribution and 
Greene's Church and State — By John Hope Franklin; 
Thompson's A Bibliography of Louisiana Books and Pam- 
phlets—By Nannie M. Tilley. 

Historical News 536 

The North Carolina 
Historical Review 

Volume XXV January, 1948 Number 1 

By Clifford Reginald Hinshaw, Junior 

During the colonial period and in the years following separa- 
tion from England, the development of both internal and foreign 
trade in North Carolina was greatly retarded by the peculiar 
topography of the state — that of the coastal region in particu- 
lar. 1 To a large extent, it was in an effort to overcome these 
difficulties that the state undertook a program of canal building. 

Within the sand bar which encloses the waters of eastern 
North Carolina are numerous shallow sounds. The northernmost 
is Currituck Sound, which extends a short distance into Virginia 
and has an average width of five miles and length of thirty miles. 
Albemarle, the largest fresh water sound in the United States, 
extends fifty miles inland with an average width of ten to twelve 
miles. The smaller Roanoke and Croatan sounds connect Albe- 
marle Sound with Pamlico Sound, which is the largest of these 
inland waters, extending for more than sixty miles from Roanoke 
Island to the mouth of the Neuse River and having an average 
width of twenty-five miles. Core Sound, one of the smaller bodies 
of water, connects Pamlico Sound with the inlet at Beaufort, 
which lies to the south. Narrow Bogue Sound extends for a short 
distance to the southwest from Beaufort. 2 

Several small rivers deposit their waters into Albemarle 
Sound, the chief of which are the Pasquotank, the Chowan, and 
the Roanoke — the latter the most important river in the north- 
ern section of the state. Formed by the junction of the Staunton 
and the Dan, it waters a large part of northern North Carolina 
and southern Virginia. The next large stream south of the 

1J. Allen Morgan, "State Aid to Transportation in North Carolina," The North Carolina 
Booklet, X, no. 1, p. 122. 

2 Edmund Ruffin, Agricultural, Geological, and Descriptive Sketches of North Carolina, and 
the Similar Adjacent Lands (Raleigh, 1861), p. 114. 


2 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Roanoke is the Tar, which rises near the Virginia line and flows 
in a southeasterly direction into Pamlico Sound, taking the 
name of Pamlico River below the town of Washington. The 
Neuse River, formed by the junction of the Eno, Little, and Flat 
rivers, flows from Durham County into the southern part of 
the Pamlico Sound. The Haw and Deep rivers unite near the 
central section of the state to form the Cape Fear, which flows 
into the Atlantic Ocean below Wilmington. 3 

In the early days, before the advent of faster means of travel, 
water transportation was of great importance. Vessels floated 
down the various rivers into the shallow sounds; and there, in 
order to reach the ocean, they had to cross the treacherous sand 
bar which enclosed the entire sound region of North Carolina. 
This sand bar, varying in width from one quarter of a mile to 
four miles, was broken in several places by inlets which allowed 
the entrance and exit of vessels to and from the ocean. 4 

The most important of the several inlets through the bar was 
Ocracoke, 5 situated fifty miles northeast of Cape Lookout and 
thirty miles southwest of Cape Hatteras, opening into Pamlico 
Sound from the ocean. After a safe passage had been made over 
the bar, which had a low water depth of thirteen feet, there were 
narrow channels to be navigated before a port could be reached. 
Within the bar were Teach's Hole channel with a six foot depth 
and the Swash with a nine foot depth. These channels were so 
shallow that many ships had to discharge part of their cargo 
and have it sent to ports in lighters or sloops. 6 

Old Topsail Inlet was considered one of the best on the North 
Carolina coast, but it opened into the harbor at Beaufort and 
was connected with the larger sounds to the north only by the 
shallow Core Sound. Some five miles south of the Virginia line 
and opening into the northern part of Currituck Sound was New 
Currituck Inlet, and, although the depth was only five feet, a 
large part of the commerce of Currituck Sound passed through 
by means of small sloops and schooners. Farther to the south 
and opposite Roanoke Island was Roanoke Inlet, with a depth 

3 William Henry Hoyt, editor, The Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II, 136-139. 

4 Charles Christopher Crittenden, "The Seacoast in North Carolina History, 1763-1789," 
The North Carolina Historical Review, VII (1930), 434. 

5 There were a variety of spellings of Ocracoke. Two of the most common were O-c-c-a- 
c-o-c-k and O-c-r-a-c-o-c-k. 

6 Crittenden, "The Seacoast in North Carolina History, 1763-1789," pp. 436-437. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 3 

of six feet, through which the Lost Colony was supposed to have 
ventured. The inlet proved of little value, however, because of 
the continual shifting of sands and the lack of uniformity in the 
depth of the channel. 7 Both of these inlets were closed by the 
action of wind and water, New Currituck in 1828 by a severe 
storm and Roanoke about the same time but in a more gradual 
manner. 8 

Through Ocracoke passed most of the ships from the Roanoke, 
Tar, and Neuse rivers, although the inlet was not well suited for 
this purpose. It was inconveniently situated for the commerce of 
the Roanoke, and a voyage from the head of Albemarle Sound 
to Ocracoke was thought to be equal to the journey from Ocracoke 
to New York or to the West Indies. As the inlet continued to 
widen its depth decreased, and this, coupled with the fact that 
there was no harbor, rendered navigation dangerous as well as 
inconvenient. 9 

Edmund Ruffin capably summed up the difficulties presented 
by the North Carolina coast when he wrote : 

Taking the whole space within the outlines of Pamlico, Albemarle, 
and Currituck Sounds, and their connecting waters, and of all the 
deep, still and unobstructed waters of the many rivers discharging 
therein, there is not one of the Atlantic States, which has such great 
extent of good and smooth navigable water . . . and safe from storms 
also, by its typographical [topographical] features, and entirely se- 
cured from any invasion, or effective blockade, by a hostile naval force. 
... But these remarkable and otherwise valuable characteristics are 
rendered almost nugatory by another remarkable feature of this 
region. There is now no access to the ocean, through the sand reef, so 
good and deep as the narrow Ocracoke Inlet, which now permits 
vessels of only six feet draft to pass over the bar across the inlet, after 
tedious delays and much danger, and which passage opens upon an 
unsheltered and most dangerous seacoast. The whole ocean shore of 
North Carolina is a terror to navigators, and is noted for the number 
of shipwrecks, and especially near Cape Hatteras. 10 

7 Crittenden, "The Seacoast in North Carolina History, 1763-1789," p. 437. 

8 Ruffin, Sketches of North Carolina, p. 120. Oregon Inlet, opened by a storm in 1846, 
was named for the first vessel to pass through it. It was navigable, however, only for small 
vessels. New Inlet has had a capricious career of opening and closing and has been used 
for commercial purposes but very little. Both Oregon and New Inlets are situated north 
of_ Cape Hatteras near Nag's head. Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Ad- 
ministration, The Intercoastal Waterway — Norfolk to Key West, pp. 105-106. 

9 Hoyt, Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II, 125. 

10 Ruffin, Sketches of North Carolina, pp. 114-115. The depth of Ocracoke Inlet evidently 
was less when Ruffin wrote. 

4 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Prior to 1815 the work of improving navigation in North Caro- 
lina was left to private enterprise. Whatever was done for the 
purpose of keeping the rivers free from obstructions was ac- 
complished by local overseers, appointed by the county courts, 
under whose direction male citizens of a certain age were re- 
quired to work. The legislature, however, in an endeavor to make 
these fields attractive to private enterprise, granted liberal fran- 
chises to corporations to construct toll roads and canals and to 
improve river navigation. 11 

Before 1815 the General Assembly had passed several acts for 
the construction of canals in various sections of the state. Of 
these the most important were the Dismal Swamp Canal to con- 
nect the Pasquotank River in North Carolina and the Elizabeth 
River in Virginia 12 and the Clubfoot and Harlow's Creek Canal 
connecting the Neuse River with Beaufort. 13 Other acts provided 
for a canal from the Roanoke River to the Meherrin River and 
one from Bennett's Creek to the Nansemond River in Virginia, 
thereby forming a water connection with tidewater Virginia 
without the use of Albemarle Sound. 14 Also, provision was made 
to incorporate companies to build canals from the Roanoke 
River to the Pamlico River 15 and to Pungo River. 16 

Only two of the canal companies secured sufficient stock sub- 
scriptions for incorporation. The Dismal Swamp Canal Company 
completed its waterway between Albemarle Sound and the Ches- 
apeake Bay, and work was begun on the Clubfoot and Harlow's 
Creek Canal. Several companies were also organized and in- 
corporated for the purpose of improving river nagivation. 17 

To facilitate and insure the success of the improvements al- 
ready begun by private enterprise, the state, in 1815, for the first 
time recognized the importance of expending public funds for 
clearing rivers and construction aids to navigation. In the same 
year North Carolina also first subscribed stock and appropriated 
money to the companies already formed. 18 The most important 

11 Morgan, "State Aid to Transportation in North Carolina," p. 126. 

12 Walter Clark, editor, The State Records of North Carolina, XXV, 83. 

13 Laws of North Carolina, 1795, ch. 23. This canal was also referred to as the Clubfoot 
and Harlow Creeks Canal, and Harlow was often spelled H-a-r-l-o-w-e. 

14 Laws of North Carolina, 1804, ch. 34. 

15 Laws of North Carolina, 1798, ch. 40. 

16 Laws of North Carolina, 1796, ch. 20. 

17 Morgan, "State Aid to Transportation in North Carolina," p. 126. 

18 Report of the Committee on Internal Improvements in the House of Commons (Raleigh, 
Dec. 9, 1824), p. 1. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 5 

of these were the Roanoke Navigation Company, the Neuse River 
Navigation Company, the Tar River Navigation Company, and 
the Cape Fear Navigation Company. 19 

In 1815 Archibald D. Murphey presented plans to the legis- 
lature for a board or commission that would take under its con- 
trol the development of waterways, roads, and other forms of 
internal improvement. 20 The plan and improvements suggested 
by Murphey were not adopted, but an increased interest was 
evident, and four years later the Board of Internal Improve- 
ments, sometimes called the Board of Public Improvements, was 
created. 21 

In connection with the proposed improvements Murphey pre- 
sented his "memoir on Internal Improvements/' pointing out 
what North Carolina needed to do and how to obtain it. His plan 
suggested that the state legislature should turn its attention to 
the inlets on the coast, to the sounds, to the primary rivers, to 
the connection of two or more of these rivers by navigable canals, 
to the public highways, and to the drainage of marshes and 
swamps in the eastern and southern counties. 22 

The Board of Internal Improvements, desiring an orderly de- 
velopment of the proposed program, hired an engineer to survey 
and report on the feasibility of the contemplated improvements. 
Unable to find a person in the state who was fitted for the po- 
sition, it employed Hamilton Fulton, an Englishman, as principal 
engineer. 23 In the employment of the Board, Fulton proceeded 
to make surveys and reports on various propositions presented 
to him. 24 

One of the most troublesome problems faced by the Board and 
the merchants of North Carolina was the absence of a suitable 
inlet through the sand bar for the exportation of the produce 
and manufactures of the state. As early as 1787 the legislature 
had passed an act authorizing certain individuals to receive sub- 
scriptions for the construction of a canal through the reef in the 

19 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina (Raleigh, 1824), 
pp. 5-6. 

20 Hoyt, Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II, 25. 

21 Report of the Committee on Internal Improvements, p. 1. 

22 Hoyt, Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II, 121. 

2^ Hoyt, Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II, 119. Fulton had been employed by the 
British government and had worked at Malta and Bermuda. He had also laid out a canal 
from the North Sea to the Baltic for the king of Sweden. 

24 Report of the Board of Public Improvement of North Carolina (Raleigh, 1820). The 
reports made by Fulton are included in this publication as well as in later reports made by 
the Board of Public Improvements. 

6 The North Carolina Historical Review 

vicinity of Roanoke Island. 25 Renewed interested in the project 
prompted the Board to direct Hamilton Fulton, in 1820, to survey 
and estimate the cost of the plan. 26 No actual work was started 
at that time, and it was not until twenty years later that another 
survey was made by Major Walter Gwynn. 27 In 1856 construc- 
tion of the canal, through the bar at Nag's Head, was begun. 
The Federal government made an appropriation of $50,000 but, 
due to the filling of the excavated section by sand, the canal was 
abandoned before all the money had been spent. 28 

One of the plans contemplated by the Board, relative to the 
improvement of river navigation, was to bring together the com- 
merce of the rivers at one point — thus developing a North Caro- 
lina port to compete with Norfolk and Charleston. Since Ocra- 
coke Inlet seemed undesirable, attention was turned elsewhere. 
Beaufort possessed the best inlet on the coast, and here the pos- 
sibility of developing a port of considerable importance seemed 
the brightest. The development of Beaufort could be accomplished 
best, it was thought, by creating a system of canals connecting 
the Roanoke, Tar, and Neuse rivers. This plan embraced a chain 
of canals extending from Williamston on the Roanoke to Wash- 
ington on the Tar, to New Bern on the Neuse, and then by way 
of the Neuse River and the Clubfoot and Harlow's Creek Canal 
to Beaufort. An alternate plan suggested Swansborough as the 
outlet of the canal system, with an additional waterway con- 
necting New Bern with the White Oak River which empties into 
the ocean at Swansborough. 29 Surveys were made of the tenta- 
tive canal line running from the Roanoke to the Tar and to the 
Neuse; the plan proved too costly, however, and was never 
carried out. 30 

Prior to the formation of the Board of Internal Improvements, 
the Cape Fear Navigation Company undertook the construction 
of canals around the falls of that river. The company planned 
the excavation of a canal twenty-seven miles in length above 
Fayetteville, with another around the Buckhorn Falls, which 
were located still higher up the river near the junction of the 

25 State Records, XXIV, 931. 

26 Report of the Board of Public Improvements of North Carolina (1821), p. 1. 

27 Report of Maj. Gwynn, Civil Engineer, Upon the Practicability and Probable Cost of 
Opening an Inlet at Nag's Head (RaFeigh, 1840), p. 1. 

28 Ruffin, Sketches of North Carolina, p. 120. 

29 Hoyt, Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II, p. 143. 

30 Report of the Board of Public Improvements of North Carolina, 1821, p. 64. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 7 

Haw and Deep rivers. Contracts were let and work was begun, 
the Buckhorn Canal was almost completed, and about five miles 
of the Fayetteville Canal were built, but in 1818 financial diffi- 
culties beset the company and work was suspended. Shortly after 
the suspension of activities, the Board of Internal Improvements 
took over the project abandoned by the Cape Fear Navigation 
Company. Instead of completing the canal, however, it adopted a 
system of sluicing and slack water, thereby making the Cape Fear 
navigable through this method rather than through canals. 31 

In contrast to the failure of the Cape Fear Navigation Com- 
pany, the Roanoke Navigation Company completed a canal 
around the falls of the Roanoke River which enabled the traffic 
of the upper Roanoke to descend to the lower river. 32 

The Yadkin and Catawba rivers drained a large section of 
central North Carolina, and therefore an effort was made to 
improve the navigation of these two streams. Surveys were made 
by Fulton and plans were presented for canals, dams, and sluices 
that would make the rivers navigable around the falls; canal 
building was widely discussed, but other means of improvement 
were finally employed. 33 As both of these rivers had their outlets 
in South Carolina, North Carolinians felt that something should 
be done to draw their trade to some native port. As early as 1815 
the suggestion had been made that the Yadkin River commerce 
could be brought to Wilmington by means of a canal running 
from the Cape Fear River to the Yadkin. 34 The General As- 
sembly passed an act, in 1847, providing for the construction of a 
waterway to connect these two rivers through Montgomery, 
Moore, and Cumberland counties. 35 This ambitious plan was not 
undertaken, however, for the distances and the difficulties to be 
encountered were much too great. 

Other acts passed by the legislature included plans for canals 
from the Cape Fear River through New Hanover County directly 
to the ocean, 36 from Lake Mattamuskeet to Alligator River, 37 

3 1 Report of the Cape Fear Navigation Company to the Board of Internal Improvements 
(Fayetteville, 1838), pp. 7-8. 

32 Report of the Board of Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1835, p. 7. 

33 Report of the Board of Public Improvements of North Carolina, 1820, p. 36. 

34 Hoyt, Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II, 24. 

35 Laws of North Carolina, 1847, ch. 17. 

36 Laws of North Carolina, 1815, ch. 15. 

37 Laws of North Carolina, 1849, ch. 131. 

8 The NortiM^arolina Historical Review 

from the Cape/Fear River to the Waccamaw River, 38 and from 
New River to 7 Bear Creek in Onslow County. 39 These schemes 
were local in character, however, and none of them was under- 
taken before 1860. 

Of the many canals suggested or planned in North Carolina 
prior to 1860, only a few were undertaken and still fewer were 
completed. The Clubfoot and Harlow's Creek Canal, the Dismal 
Swamp Canal, the Roanoke Canal, and the Albemarle and Chesa- 
peake Canal (chartered in 1855) 40 were completed and became 
a part of the inland waterway transportation of the state. The 
Roanoke Canal was used to aid river traffic only, on one particu- 
lar river, but the other canals joined points that heretofore had 
no direct water connection. 

One of the earliest and most important projects in North Caro- 
lina was a canal linking the Neuse River with Old Topsail Inlet 
at Beaufort. Old Topsail was considered the best inlet on the 
coast for several reasons: its location, under the lee shore of 
Cape Lookout, protected it from the more severe storms ; it was 
subject to fewer changes ; it had a depth of fourteen feet of water 
over the reef; and within the bar was a safe harbor. Such a 
canal, it was believed, would provide the commerce of Pamlico 
Sound and its tributary rivers with a safer exit to the ocean than 
that of dangerous Ocracoke Inlet. 41 

As early as 1766 "An Act For Joining the Navigation of Old 
Topsail Inlet to Neuse River by Cutting a Navigable Canal from 
the Head of Harlow's Creek to Clubfoot's Creek" was passed. 
Clubfoot Creek was a tributary of the Neuse River, while Har- 
low's Creek flowed into the harbor at Beaufort. By this act 
certain citizens were appointed commissioners with authority 
to lay off and design a canal to connect these two creeks. They 
were empowered to receive subscriptions, to construct the water- 
way, and to act as overseers of the project. 42 

Nothing was accomplished, however, and in 1783 the General 
Assembly passed another act, appointing John Benners, John 
Jones, Christopher Neale, John Easton, Enock Ward, Dedrick 
Gibbler, and William Bourden as commissioners. By this act the 

88 Laws of North Carolina, 1855, ch. 92. 

39 Laws of North Carolina, 1847, ch. 19. 

40 haws of North Carolina, 1855, ch. 93. 

41 Hoyt, Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II, 130. 

42 state Records, XXIII, 684-685. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 9 

canal could pass through the land of any person or persons pro- 
vided payment was made to the owner for consequent damages. 
The canal was also declared to be for public use and free from 
tolls. 4 * 

The following year Enock Ward, Spyers Singleton, and Chris- 
opher Neale were empowered to construct the canal and, con- 
trary to the provisions of the previous act, were allowed to collect 
tolls if the project was completed within a seven-year period. 
Tolls were to be fixed each year between the first and tenth of 
January and they were to be advertised at each end of the canal. 44 

In 1795, with the canal still incomplete, an additional act was 
passed. The new law provided for a company with a capital stock 
of $10,000, divided into 100 shares of $100 each. It further stipu- 
lated that the company must have two-thirds of the necessary 
subscriptions before becoming incorporated, officers must be 
elected, the canal built, and locks and other safeguards to naviga- 
tion constructed. Land through which the waterway would run 
was condemned and the canal was declared a public highway, free 
from taxation. The toll rates were limited to a yearly income of 
not more than twenty-five per cent of the cost of construction 
and maintenance of the canal. 45 Two years later an amendment 
was passed allowing an increase of $1,000 in the capital stock 
and extending the charter from sixty to ninety-nine years. 46 

Although sufficient subscriptions for incorporation had been 
secured, the canal progressed slowly. Practically all of the work 
had been done by, or under the direction of, William McClure. 
After his death his interest in the company was transferred to 
his daughter Hannah, the wife of William Gaston. She, in turn, 
left her shares to her husband and infant children. 

Construction was suspended following McClure's death; in 
1813, however, a reorganizing act was passed providing for a 
capital stock of 132 shares valued at $100 each. William Gaston 
and his children, because of McClure's contributions, were 
granted a fourth of the stock. Each subscriber was allowed one 
vote for each share of stock up to five, and one vote for every 
three shares above five. According to this act the canal was to be 

43 State Records, XXIV, 538. 

44 State Records, XXIV, 634. 

45 Laws of North Carolina, 1795, ch. 23. 

46 Laws of North Carolina, 1797, ch. 5. 

10 The North Carolina Historical Review. 

built from Clubfoot Creek to Harlow's Creek and was to have a 
width of fourteen feet and a depth of four feet at ordinary tide 
water. Four sidings, sixty feet long and twelve feet wide, were 
provided to increase the width, thus allowing vessels to pass each 
other. Drainage ditches were also to be dug parallel to the canal 
to prevent surface water from washing the banks. The entire 
project had to be completed within five years. 47 

Two years later the company had completed about one-fourth 
of the work. 48 In 1818, after canal and navigation companies had 
begun to secure state aid, the state of North Carolina subscribed 
to twenty-five shares of stock and lengthened the time for com- 
pletion of the waterway. 49 

During this period, when an increased interest in internal im- 
provements was evident, the Clubfoot and Harlow's Creek Canal 
attracted considerable attention in connection with a proposed 
line of canals running from Norfolk to Beaufort. This canal was 
to furnish the final link in the chain connecting the Neuse River 
with the ocean port of Beaufort. Yet some doubts remained : Was 
the water in the canal at Beaufort of sufficient depth, and would 
the open waters of the lower Neuse River and Pamlico Sound 
prove too dangerous for safe navigation? 50 

The Board of Internal Improvements, following its formation 
in 1819 and the hiring of Hamilton Fulton, desired to take over 
the Clubfoot and Harlow's Creek Canal as one of its projects. 
Fulton surveyed the canal in 1820 and reported to the Board 
that there was no necessity for any alteration of the line as 
previously laid out by William McClure. As the waters of Club- 
foot Creek were higher than those of Harlow's Creek, he thought 
it expedient to build a lock to prevent the current from overflow- 
ing and injuring the banks. Construction of this lock and com- 
pletion of the canal would necessitate an expenditure of $25,000. 
The dimensions from which the cost was estimated called for a 
canal four feet deep, fourteen feet wide at the bottom, with a 
slope of one and a half feet horizontal to one foot perpendicular, 
making the surface width twenty-six feet. These dimensions were 
considered sufficient to allow the passage of vessels from seventy 

4T Laws of North Carolina, 1813, ch. 28. 

45 Morgan, "State Aid to Transportation in North Carolina," p. 152. 

49 Laws of North Carolina, 1818, ch. 50. 

50 Hoyt, Paper 8 of Archibald D. Murphey, II, 144. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 11 

to eighty feet in length, fourteen feet in width, drawing three 
feet six inches of water, and carrying a cargo of thirty or forty 
tons. The proposed size of the sidings was also enlarged in the 
report made by Fulton. 51 

Work on the canal was started again in the spring of 1821, 
but incessant rains greatly retarded progress. The company di- 
rectors, deciding against the employment of contractors, hired a 
superintendent and a number of hands. Fulton's plan was fol- 
lowed with the exception of the lock construction, which they 
built without sidewalls, using instead the banks of the canal. 
This proved impracticable and work on the lock was suspended. 52 

When the company's capital proved inadequate, in 1821, an act 
was passed opening the books for new subscriptions and increas- 
ing the number of shares to 240. William Gaston and his children 
had their stock increased to one-fourth of the larger number of 
shares without further payment. The Board of Internal Improve- 
ments, by the act of 1821, gained control of the planning and 
direction of the project, and the state subscribed to an additional 
fifty shares of stock. 53 

The Board wanted to employ contractors to complete the proj- 
ect, but the bids were prohibitive in cost and the old system of 
hiring a superintendent and hands was continued. The number 
of hands employed, however, was too few and the work proceeded 
so slowly that by 1822 only one-third of the total length of three 
miles had been completed. 54 


The Capital Stock Subscribed by Individuals $10,000.00 

The Capital Stock Subscribed by the State 7,500.00 


The Sum Paid by Individuals $ 5,683.46 

The Sum Paid by the State 4,000.00 

$ 9,683.46 

*1 Report of the Board of Public Improvements of North Carolina, 1820, pp. 1-2. 
63 Report of the Board of Public Improvements of North Carolina, 1821, p. 38. 
«3 Laws of North Carolina, 1821, ch. 37. 
B * Report of the Board of Public Improvements of North Carolina, 1822, p. 11. 

12 The North Carolina Historical Review 

The Sum Expended on the Canal and Paid $ 8,337.85 

Debts Due from the Company, About 2,000.00 


Insolvent Subscribers Owe the Company, About $ 800.00 55 

A year later Fulton estimated that about three-fifths of the 
total length had been excavated, and that the expenditure of 
another $10,000 would enable the company to complete the canal. 
The officers of the company then replied that the necessary funds 
could not be raised through private subscription and requested an 
appropriation from the state. 56 The state, through the Board of 
Internal Improvements, appropriated $5,000 for stock in the 
company. 57 

As construction of the canal continued slowly from 1824 to 
1826, the need for money was expressed upon several occasions. 
To meet these needs the company, in 1824, was allowed to offer 
twenty more shares of stock for sale and the state subscribed to 
seventy-five additional shares. 58 

Two years later the state granted the company a loan of 
$12,000, one-half of which was to be paid back within ten years 
and the remainder within fifteen years. Certain provisions were 
attached to the loan: Interest was to be paid annually, insofar 
as the funds of the company would permit ; as security, the canal 
and all the property of the company was conveyed in trust to the 
state ; and bond was given by the company's officers as guaranty 
that the money would be applied to its debts and to the completion 
of the canal. 59 

An examination by a committee of the Board of Internal Im- 
provements in 1827 revealed that an excavation of 180 yards and 
the removal of earth caved in from the banks would make the 
canal navigable. The cave-in was thought to have been a result 
of the too free admission of the waters of the Neuse River and 
Clubfoot Creek. The committee, therefore, recommended the 
erection of a guard lock at the northern outlet of the canal to 
control the flow of water. 60 

55 Report of the Board of Public Improvements of North Carolina, 1822, p. 10. 

56 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1823, pp. 6-7. 

57 Laws of North Carolina, 1823, ch. 18. 

58 Laws of North Carolina, 1824, ch. 25. 

59 Laws of North Carolina, 1826, ch. 24. 

60 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1827, p. 12. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 13 

Although small vessels now began to use the waterway and 
tolls were collected, the canal was not yet a useful commercial 
artery. To supply the means for making it such, the state in 1828 
made a loan of $6,000. 61 


CAROLINA (1832) 

By Act of 1818, Subscriptions for 

25 Shares of Stock at $100 each $ 2,500 

By Act of 1821 for 50 Shares 5,000 

By Act of 1823 for 50 Shares 5,000 

By Act of 1824 for 75 Shares 7,500 


By Act of 1826, Loan by the State $12,000 

By Act of 1828, Loan by the State 6,000 

Total Sum Advanced by the State $38,00062 

About the time of the opening of the canal North Carolina first 
became interested in railroad building. Joseph Caldwell, in his 
Numbers of Carlton, presented detailed plans for the construc- 
tion of a railroad system running through the central section of 
the state, east to west, with an eastern terminus at New Bern. 
He considered Beaufort the best seaport on the coast and ad- 
vocated its development to facilitate the centering of commerce 
at one point. In this connection, Caldwell suggested an expansion 
of the Clubfoot and Harlow's Creek Canal which would enable 
vessels of the largest class navigating the sounds to enter the 
harbor at Beaufort. According to his plan, the railroads would 
transport goods to New Bern from the interior of the state, and 
from there they would be shipped, by way of the Neuse River 
and canal, to the port at Beaufort. 63 

Little was done at this time to improve the canal and to make 
it navigable for steamboats, and therefore the number of tolls 

61 Laws of North Carolina, 1828, ch. 37. 

62 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1832, p. 21. 

63 Joseph Caldwell, The Numbers of Carlton, Addressed to the People of North Carolina 
on a Central Rail-road Through the State (New York, 1828), p. 34. 

14 The North Carolina Historical Review 

collected was small. 64 From December 3, 1827, to December 31, 
1828, the gross total of tolls was $640.23. 65 From October 1, 1830, 
to June 30, 1832, a period of nearly two years, the tolls amounted 
to only $709.03, 66 while from January 2, 1833, to December 31, 
1834, the amount was $294.49. Thus over a period of six years, 
from 1827 to 1833, the total tolls collected amounted to only 
$2,722.05. 67 

The Clubfoot and Harlow's Creek Canal attracted little atten- 
tion from the state after 1830, and interest in the project seems 
to have vanished. In 1832 the Board of Internal Improvements 
reported, in connection with the expediency of planning a water 
communication from Beaufort to New Bern in place of a railroad, 
that the Clubfoot and Harlow's Creek Canal was not adequate for 
the needs of the trade. According to the report, the chief difficulty 
lay in the shallowness of the connecting creeks and the conse- 
quent insufficiency of water in the canal. This difficulty only 
added to those caused by the poor construction of the canal. Fur- 
ther lack of interest can be noted in the fact that a new route was 
surveyed for a canal between the Neuse River and Beaufort, a 
project which would have been located a few miles to the east of 
the older canal. 68 

The company reported to the Board of Internal Improvements 
in 1832 that $48,471 had been spent in construction of the canal 
and that $400 was still due. 69 As obstacles to navigation con- 
tinued to increase, the tolls decreased, reaching a low of $210.51 
in 1834. This poor condition led to the opinion that, even if the 
canal were improved, it would still not be able to repay the state 
loans, 70 and therefore foreclosure was ordered in 1844. 71 

Three years later an act of the General Assembly empowered 
the Board of Internal Improvements, which had taken over the 
canal, to lease the entire works for a period not exceeding twenty 
years to such individuals or companies as might wish to operate 
the canal. Further provision was made that, in the event the 

64 Raleigh Star and North Carolina Gazette, December 23, 1830. 

65 Charles Clinton Weaver, "Internal Improvements in North Carolina Previous to 1860," 
John Hopkins University Studies in History and Political Science, XXI (1903), p. 74. 

66 Report of the President and Directors of the Clubfoot and Harlow's Creek Canal Com- 
pany to the Legislature of North Carolina (Raleigh, 1832), p. 3. 

67 Weaver, "Internal Improvements in North Carolina Previous to 1860," p. 74. 

68 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1832, p. 6. 

69 Report of the President and Directors of the Clubfoot and Harlow's Creek Canal Com- 
pany, p. 3. 

70 Weaver, "Internal Improvements in North Carolina Previous to 1860," pp. 74-75. 

71 Weaver, "Internal Improvements in North Carolina Previous to 1860," p. 75. 

« i 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 15 

Board did not lease the canal within six months, it could offer the 
project for sale at public auction after giving not less than sixty 
days notice in the newspapers of the state. If the canal were sold, 
the purchasers were to be declared incorporated as the Clubfoot 
and Harlow's Creek Canal Company. 72 

The canal was neither leased nor purchased, and in 1849 an 
act was passed to incorporate a company to operate it. The capital 
stock was set at $6,000, one-half of which had to be subscribed 
before the corporation could be formed. A further stipulation 
was made that the directors of the company would execute a 
mortgage to the state upon promise to make the canal navig- 
able. 73 A new company was not incorporated, however, and the 
state held its interest in the canal until 1872. At that time the 
New Bern and Beaufort Canal Company was formed and the 
state's interest in the Clubfoot and Harlow's Creek Canal was 
transferred to the new organization. 74 

Another project designed to expedite the flow of commerce 
in the state, particularly in the northeastern section, was con- 
struction of the Dismal Swamp Canal. Since the only means of 
entrance and exit from the sounds of North Carolina was 
through the treacherous inlets, it was natural for Tar Heel mer- 
chants to seek a new trade route. It was also natural for Virginia 
business men to want the route so located that it centered the 
commerce of North Carolina at Norfolk. Joseph and Benjamin 
Jones of Pasquotank County are credited with having originated 
the idea of a canal running through the Dismal Swamp. 75 

In 1786 commissioners from Virginia and North Carolina 
were appointed to confer upon a plan for the proposed canal. 
These commissioners — Robert Andrews and John Cooper of 
Virginia, and William M'Kenzie, James Galloway, and John 
Stokes of North Carolina — met in Fayetteville. 76 The following 
year the legislature of Virginia passed an act relative to the 
Dismal Swamp Canal. 77 As the waterway was to extend into 
both states, it was necessary that North Carolina also pass an 

72 Laws of North Carolina, 1847, ch. 16. 

73 Laws of North Carolina, 1849, ch. 10. 

74 Jonathan Havens, The Pamlico Section of North Carolina, p. 54. 

7 5 John Moore, History of North Carolina, II, p. 401. 
™ State Records, XXV, 92. 

77 Thomas J. Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern Port, p. 173. 

16 The North Carolina Historical Review 

act incorporating a canal company. The General Assembly, meet- 
ing at Fayetteville, passed such an act in November, 1790. 78 

This act called for the construction of a canal through the 
dreary wasteland that borders North Carolina and Virginia near 
the Atlantic Ocean. Probably the earliest available description 
of the swamp is that written by William Byrd while he was sur- 
veying the boundary between the two states. Byrd described the 
region as a large swamp or bog extending thirty miles from 
north to south and having a width of ten miles. 79 He also de- 
scribed the pestilential effects of the air and the absence of ani- 
mals, but later investigation proved that these observations were 
incorrect. It is supposed that this region received the name 
"Great Dismal Swamp" from Byrd while he was on this trip. 80 

At its northern boundary the swamp extends a little south of 
the port of Norfolk, Virginia, covering parts of Norfolk and 
Nansemond counties in that state. In North Carolina it extends 
through portions of Currituck, Camden, and Gates counties. 81 
The name — Dismal Swamp — adequately describes the region 
lying between the Albemarle and Chesapeake basins, for con- 
tained therein are the headwaters of the Pasquotank, Perqui- 
mans, and North rivers which flow into Albemarle Sound. The 
Nansemond and Elizabeth rivers also have their headwaters in 
the swamp but flow north into Chesapeake Bay. 82 

Frederick Law Olmstead, who made a tour of the southern 
states about 1856, wrote an interesting account of this section of 
North Carolina and Virginia : 

The Great Dismal Swamp together with the smaller Dismals of the 
same character, along the North Carolina Coast, have hitherto been 
of considerable importance as furnishing a large amount of lumber, 
and especially of shingles for our Northern use as well as for exporta- 
tion. The district from which this commerce proceeds is all a vast 
quagmire, the soil being entirely composed of decayed vegetable fibre, 
saturated and surcharged with water; yielding or quaking on the 
surface to the tread of man, and a large part of it, during most of the 
year, half inundated with standing pools. It is divided by creeks and 

7« State Records, XXV, 38. 

79 William Byrd, Description of the Dismal Swamp and a Proposal to Drain the Swamp, 
edited by Earl Gregg Swem, p. 17. 

80 Federal Writers Project, North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State, p. 276. 

81 Federal Writers Project, North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State, p. 276. 

82 William Darby and Theodore Wright, Jr., A New Gazetteer of the United States of 
America (Hartford, 1836), p. 424. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 17 

water veins, and in the center is a pond six miles long and three broad, 
the shores of which, strange to say, are at a higher elevation above the 
sea, than any other part of the swamp, and yet of the same miry 

Except by log roads the swamp is scarcely passable in many parts, 
owing not only to the softness of the sponge, but to the obstruction 
caused by innumerable shrubs, vines, creepers, and briars, which often 
take entire possession of the surface, forming a dense brake or 
jungle. This, however, is sometimes removed by fires, which of late 
years have been frequent and very destructive to the standing timber. 
. . . There is a good deal of game in the swamp . . . bears and wildcats 
are sometimes shot, raccoons and oppossums are plentiful, and deer 
are found in the drier parts and on the outskirts. The fishing, in the 
interior waters, is also said to be excellent. 83 

Another author and traveller, Edmund Ruftm of Virginia, who 
perhaps had a more intimate knowledge of the region than Olm- 
stead, described the swamp as being higher than the surrounding 
land and the soil of vegetable origin. 

It would be supposed that the swamp is much lower than the sur- 
rounding land, but the swamp is higher than nearly all the land that 
encompasses it, and the interior of the swamp is generally higher than 
the outer part. The exception is on the west side where for 12 or 15 
miles the streams flow into the swamp, but in the north, east, and 
south the rivers flow away from the swamp into various rivers and 

The Dismal Swamp is certainly a peat soil. The soils of the Dismal 
Swamp are much nearer to the peat of Europe than any other I have 
ever observed. . . . The vegetable soil of the Dismal Swamp, when dry, 
is highly combustible . . . being principally of vegetable origin, which 
leave but little ashes, or earth residue. 84 

This tract of land, covering some 2,200 square miles, was first 
exploited by George Washington and several of his associates. 85 
About the time of the discovery of a lake in the center of the 
Great Dismal, these men took over all the unappropriated swamp 
lands in Virginia. Washington, as a surveyor, thought the entire 
swamp could be drained and made into farm land. With this in 
mind, he and his associates bought about 40,000 acres of the 

83 Frederick Law Olmsted, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States, with Remarks on 
Their Economy (New York, 1856), pp. 149-152. 

84 Ruffin, Sketches of North Carolina, p. 208. 

85 Federal Writers Project, North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State, p. 275. 

18 The North Carolina Historical Review 

wasteland and formed the Dismal Swamp Land Company. The 
company's chief object, at that time, was purely agricultural; the 
swamp was drained and the soil tilled, but the profits realized 
from the project were discouragingly small. 86 

Following the Revolution, agricultural development of the 
swamp continued to pay small dividends, so the company ac- 
cordingly turned to the sale of juniper shingles. This unexpected 
business proved immensely profitable and soon became the com- 
pany's sole pursuit. Shortly before the Civil War the stock had 
increased from the original $3,000 a share to $15,000 ; the divi- 
dends paid were large even for such highly priced stock. At the 
time of its incorporation the land company failed to include the 
lake in the center of the swamp in its patent. This proved to be a 
harmful oversight, for the Dismal Swamp Canal Company was 
granted exclusive use of the water in the lake, thus shackling any 
general plan of drainage. 87 

In order to transport lumber from the swamp, the land com- 
pany had constructed a canal from the northern edge of Lake 
Drummond to a point seven miles from Suffolk on the Suffolk- 
Edenton road. This canal, averaging ten feet in width and con- 
taining from one to two feet of water, was extremely narrow 
and only five miles long. Approximately a hundred yards from 
the lake was a device comparable to a dam for controlling the 
depth of water in the canal. The waterway, at that time, was 
called "Washington's Ditch" and has retained the name to the 
present time. 88 

After a short but useful career Washington's Ditch was aban- 
doned as a means of water transportation. A more direct route, 
the Jericho Canal, had been built from Lake Drummond to the 
Nansemond River at a point near Suffolk. The new canal, which 
was twelve feet wide and four feet deep, extended almost in a 
straight line from the lake to the river. At the lake junction a 
regulating lock controlled the water in the canal by keeping it at 
a uniform level when long droughts caused a lower lake depth. 89 

Jericho Canal was used primarily by the land company in 
transporting shingles from the interior of the swamp to the 

86 Edmund Ruffin, "Observations Made During an Excursion to the Dismal Swamp," The 
Farmers' Register (January 1, 1837), p. 515. 

87 Ruffin, "Observations Made During an Excursion to the Dismal Swamp," p. 616. 

88 Charles Frederick Stansbury, The Lake of the Great Dismal, pp. 29, 34. 
69 Ruffin, Sketches of North Carolina, p. 205. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 19 

landing at a tidewater creek where large ocean-going vessels 
were loaded. Swamp timber, consisting principally of juniper, 
cypress, and white pine, brought good prices and heavy profits. 
A number of slaves, owned by the company, were employed in 
bringing out lumber in the form of shingles and staves. 90 

Traffic on the canal consisted, for the main part, of lumber 
products, but occasional pleasure trips were taken into the 
depths of the swamp. Small barge-like boats were used: they 
were carried forward by boatmen on the towpaths who pro- 
pelled them by means of polls rigged to the front and rear of the 
boat. By leaning against the poles and walking along the paths 
the boatmen pushed the boat along the canal. 91 

The act passed by the General Assembly of North Carolina in 
1790 incorporating the Dismal Swamp Canal Company con- 
tained a preamble which stated : Since many persons were willing 
to subscribe large sums of money for the construction of a 
navigable canal to connect Albemarle Sound with Chesapeake 
Bay, they should be entitled to collect tolls from those using the 
canal. 92 This law provided for the opening of subscription books 
in Rockingham and Granville counties and in the towns of 
Halifax, Edenton, Murfreesborough, Windsor, and Nixonton, in 
North Carolina, and also in Virginia at such places as the leg- 
islature of that state might designate. A date was set for the first 
meeting of the company, which would become incorporated upon 
receipt of one-half of the prescribed capital of $80,000. If less 
than one-half of the amount had been subscribed by the time of 
the first meeting at Halifax, the company was empowered to take 
additional subscriptions to make up the deficiency. Those sub- 
scribing were required to elect a president and four directors 
for a term not exceeding three years. They were also allowed 
one vote for each share of stock up to ten and one vote for each 
five additional shares, a share being valued at $250. A lengthy 
section of the law described the powers and duties of the officers 
and the rules concerning meetings. 93 As compensation for ex- 
penses incurred in construction and maintenance of the canal, 
locks, and causeways, the company was granted any profits ac- 

90 D. H. Strother, "The Dismal Swamp," Harpers (September, 1856). This article, clipped 
from the original magazine, is in the University of North Carolina library. 

91 Strother, "The Dismal Swamp." 

92 State Records, XXV, 83. 
»3 State Records, XXV, 84-86 

20 The North Carolina Historical Review 

cruing from the project. The law also included a long list of tolls 
chargeable for commodities shipped on the canal. 94 

To secure the necessary land through which the canal was to 
be cut, the owners of such property were required to sell to the 
company at a reasonable price. The proprietors were allowed to 
construct a branch canal to Lake Drummond to secure additional 
water for the main waterway. If there were a surplus of water, 
they could grant the use thereof to any private enterprise desir- 
ing it. Persons living along the canal route were permitted to 
dig drainage ditches into the main stream. These ditches, how- 
ever, had to be at least a mile apart if they were located on the 
same side of the canal, and some means for completely shutting 
them off had to be provided. All bridges across the branches were 
to be built at the expense of the landowners. 95 

Tolls were chargeable only if several specifications were ful- 
filled: the canal had to be thirty-two feet wide and eight feet 
below the earth's surface ; it had to be navigable in dry weather 
by vessels drawing three feet of water ; and the causeways had to 
have a width of twenty feet. In addition, construction of the 
canal had to be started within a year after incorporation and 
completed within a ten-year period. 96 

According to the law, each state would have free use of certain 
waters in the other state. Virginia agreed that the Elizabeth 
River, Hampton Roads, Chesapeake Bay, and the upper stretches 
of the Roanoke River would be considered as a common highway, 
free from toll and open to the navigation of all vessels belonging 
to the state of North Carolina or its citizens. In reciprocation, 
North Carolina declared that the Roanoke, Meherrin, Nottaway, 
and Chowan rivers and Albemarle Sound, as far east as the 
Pasquotank River, should likewise be opened to Virginia's com- 
merce and free from tolls. 97 Further provisions stated that no 
restriction, duty, or impost would be levied on any commodity 
which was the growth, produce, or manufacture of either state 
when it passed on the canal, from one state to the other. All 
articles were salable in either state without reinspection. 98 

84 State Records, XXV, 87. 

85 state Records, XXV, 90. 

86 State Records, XXV, 91. 

87 State Records, XXV, 92. 
«8 state Records, XXV, 93. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 21 

After the passage of the act of 1790, a campaign for subscrip- 
tions began. George Washington became one of the first sub- 
scribers by his purchase of stock valued at $500." In addition 
to private subscriptions by North Carolina and Virginia business 
men, the legislature of Virginia passed acts by which that state 
subscribed to fifty shares of stock in 1791 and twenty shares in 
1799. 100 

Slowness of the subscribers in paying for their shares delayed 
actual construction of the canal until 1793. 101 Virginia had re- 
opened subscription books the previous year in Norfolk, Ports- 
mouth, Suffolk, Petersburg, Richmond, Fredericksburg, and 
Alexandria to secure more funds for the project. During this 
period of delay the legislatures of both states amended the orig- 
inal law by requiring the canal to be of sufficient width to accom- 
modate vessels fifteen feet broad, drawing three feet of water, 
and by reducing the width of the causeways from twenty to 
fifteen feet. 102 

Actual excavation was begun in 1793 with gangs of Negroes 
working at each end of the canal. Two mistakes were made, how- 
ever ; a competent engineer was not employed to direct the proj- 
ect and the channel was too narrow and too shallow. Other 
complications arose: The company didn't know the number of 
locks that were necessary or how much dirt to remove ; the route 
was incorrectly surveyed ; no accurate estimate of the cost could 
be made, 103 and part of the work was done under contract at the 
rate of $4,000 a mile, while another part was done by slave labor 
under the direction of an overseer. Slaveowners contracted for 
completion of minor sections, working their hands at times of 
the year when they were not farming. 104 Tangled roots and 
matted grasses greatly increased the difficulties of digging. Cap- 
tain Cornick, president of the company, clearly indicated the 
slow progress that was made. "Through such land, the canal, to 
the depth it was sunk, was cut, not by the spade, but principally 
by the axe, the saw, and the mattock." 105 

99 Weaver, "Internal Improvements in North Carolina Previous to 1860," p. 69. 

100 Executive Document No. 19, 45th Congress, 2nd Session, House of Representatives, 
Dismal Swamp Canal, Etc. (n. p., 1878), p. 10. 

101 Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern Port, pp. 9, 173. 

102 Henry Potter, editor, Laws of North Carolina (Raleigh, 1821), p. 699. 

103 Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern Port, p. 174. 

104 Weaver, "Internal Improvements in North Carolina Previous to 1860," p. 71. 

105 Ruffin, Sketches of North Carolina, p. 211. 

22 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Inspection of the work in 1796 showed that the canal was com- 
pleted for five miles at the Virginia end and for six miles at the 
Pasquotank or North Carolina end. Although digging and cutting 
had been going on for three years the most difficult part of the 
work remained to be done. The company had underestimated the 
cost, the locks proved expensive, and it also became necessary 
to dig a feeder canal for a supply of water from Lake Drum- 
mond. When the company's money ran out and its credit was 
exhausted, work came to a standstill. The best that could be done 
was to connect the two sections of completed canal by a road. 
Thus North Carolina's produce was taken to the south section 
by water, from there it was carried by wagons to the north 
section, and then it was transferred to vessels bound for 
Norfolk. 10.6 

Prior to the War of 1812 heavy traffic flowed through the canal 
and over the connecting road. In one year the tolls collected 
amounted to $6,000, a return of seven per cent on the capital 
invested. At intervals, as funds came in, excavation was resumed, 
and by 1808 sufficient progress had been made to allow the 
prediction that, with the employment of 500 men, the canal could 
be completed within three months. A suggestion was offered 
relative to employing sailors thrown out of work by the embargo, 
but the company declined to follow this plan, following instead 
its practice of piecemeal work. As one writer of the time ex- 
pressed it, construction of the canal progressed as slowly as 
though "the age of Methusalah, and not that of the Psalmist, 
were the prescribed period of human life." 107 

Such slow progress prevented the completion of the waterway 
within the ten year period prescribed in the incorporating act. 
The legislatures of Virginia and North Carolina, however, ex- 
tended the time limit on several occasions. From time to time 
regulations governing the toll rates were changed as the states 
modified the strict rule of procedure cited in the original act. 108 

The British blockade of Chesapeake Bay in 1812 and the re- 
sultant demand for an inland waterway to Albemarle Sound 
seems to have provided the impetus needed for completion of the 

106 Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern Port, p. 174. 

107 Norfolk Gazette and Public Ledger. April 14, 1808; Norfolk Beacon, May 3, 1836, cited 
by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern Port, p. 174. 

108 Potter, Laws of North Carolina, II, 904. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 23 

canal. In June, 1814, vessels began to come through the canal; 
the first vessel to reach Norfolk came from Scotland Neck by- 
way of the Roanoke River. It was loaded with bacon and brandy 
— a burden of twenty tons — and at one place on the canal the 
master was obliged to lighten the cargo. 109 From that time on, 
North Carolina produce passed through the canal in large quan- 
tities. One person alone paid tolls from December 8, 1815, to 
June 1, 1816, on 374,000 staves, 478,000 shingles, 2,233 barrels 
of corn, 10,000 pounds of bacon, 370 barrels of tar, 6 barrels of 
pitch, 371 barrels of fish, 27 barrels of oil, 59 casks of flax seed, 
2 casks of beeswax, and 16 kegs of lard — in all worth $32,000, 
or enough merchandise to load four ships of 300 tons each. 110 

As the Dismal Swamp Canal grew in importance, North Caro- 
lina business men began to worry about the commerce it furn- 
ished Norfolk in competition with their own native ports. In his 
"Memorial on Internal Improvements/ ' written in 1819, Archi- 
bald D. Murphey lamented the fact that a large per cent of the 
products of North Carolina had been sent to markets in other 

Heretofore, the productions of the Northern part of the State, lying 
on the Roanoke and its branches, and also on the upper parts of the 
Tar and Neuse, have been sent to the markets of Virginia; and the 
trade of Broad River, the Catawba and Peedee, has gone to South 
Carolina. Thus it has happened that we have shipped from our own 
ports not more than one third of our Agricultural products; and even 
a considerable portion of our Staves, Lumber, and Naval Stores, have 
been sent to other ports by the Dismal Swamp Canal, on one side; or 
by the Waccamaw, Little Peedee, and Lumber, on the other. . . . m 

This traffic, born of the necessities of war, served only to show 
the inadequacies of the canal. Vessels of sufficient size to navigate 
the waters of Albemarle and Pamlico sounds in safety were too 
large to pass through the new waterway. The directors of the 
company soon realized the necessity for increasing the depth of 
the canal and reducing the number of locks. Unless these im- 
provements were made, the trade of the canal would revert to 

109 Norfolk Gazette and Public Ledger, June 11, 1814, cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: His- 
toric Southern Port, p. 174. 

110 Norfolk Gazette and Public Ledger, June 1, 1816, cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: His- 
toric Southern Port, p. 175. 

111 Hoyt, The Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II, 142. 

24 The North Carolina Historical Review 

the older channels. 112 The company, possessing proof of the 
volume of traffic that might be expected, appealed to the state 
legislatures for support. In response to its plea, permission was 
granted for an increased number of shares and, in addition, the 
legislature of Virginia granted three loans — two of $50,000 each 
and one of $37,000. 113 

In connection with the proposed improvements a federal proj- 
ect, which included the Dismal Swamp Canal, was brought 
forward. This plan had been previously advocated by Albert 
Gallatin but had never been executed. Alexander Macomb, chief 
engineer, wrote James Barbour, the Secretary of War, express- 
ing his opinion that the Dismal Swamp Canal might be a useful 
means of defense, provided it was made navigable for sloops. 
Macomb suggested an inland waterway from Norfolk to Beau- 
fort, including the Dismal Swamp Canal in a series of canals 
connecting the Roanoke, Pamlico, and Neuse rivers by way of 
Plymouth, Washington, and New Bern. 114 

In 1826 the United States government subscribed to 600 shares 
in the Dismal Swamp Canal Company and three years later pur- 
chased 200 additional shares, making a total investment of 
$200,000. 115 With the money invested by the federal government 
and the loans secured from the state of Virginia, improvements 
on the canal progressed rapidly. In the winter of 1828, thirty-six 
years after the first shovelful of dirt had been removed, the canal 
was completed on a larger scale and opened to traffic. The new 
canal was twenty-two and a half miles long, averaged forty feet 
in width, and was capable of conveying vessels drawing five and 
a half feet of water. The water level was raised or lowered by 
five stone locks ; two at the northern end, raising the water thir- 
teen feet; one, ten miles south, raising it three and a half feet; 
the Culpeper Lock, six miles south, falling three and a half feet ; 
and a lock at the south end falling thirteen feet. A basin of a half 
mile length was situated at Deep Creek on the northern end of 

112 Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern Port, p. 176. 

113 Norfolk Beacon, March 17; April 10, 1826, cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic 
Southern Port, p. 175. 

H4 House Document No. 125, 19th Congress, 1st Session, Survey of the Waters of Vir- 
ginia and North Carolina (Washington, 1826), p. 5. This same plan had been presented 
by A. D. Murphey and surveys had been made under the direction of the North Carolina 
Board of Internal Improvements. See above, pp. 5-7. 

115 Executive Document No. 19, 45th Congress, 2nd Session, House of Representatives, 
Dismal Swamp Canal . . . , p. 82. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 25 

the waterway. With the added improvements the total cost of 
the canal reached an approximated sum of $800,000. 116 

As the canal was improved the value of produce transported 
and tolls collected began to increase at a rapid rate. Further 
expectations of a rich trade were enhanced by improvements that 
were aiding navigation of the Roanoke River. Heretofore the 
falls of the Roanoke above Weldon had prevented the passage of 
boats downstream into Albemarle Sound, but construction of 
the Roanoke Canal, it was hoped, would remove this difficulty. 117 

The Dismal Swamp Canal had opened a waterway for the 
trade of the upper Roanoke as well as for that of the Chowan, 
Blackwater, Meherrin, and Nottaway rivers. Tobacco, cotton, 
flax, flour, and hemp from Warren, Mecklenburg, Halifax, and 
Charlotte counties were expected to flow down the Roanoke, 
through Albemarle Sound, and then through the canal. It was 
necessary, however, to provide some means of transporting goods 
from small upper river boats which deposited their cargoes at 
Weldon after making the voyage through the Roanoke Canal. 118 
Vessels navigating the shallow upper river were too small to sail 
in safety on the lower river and open sound. To meet this dif- 
ficulty and to facilitate the shipment of produce from Weldon to 
Norfolk, the Virginia and North Carolina Transportation Com- 
pany was organized. In June, 1828, the steamer Petersburg and 
eight barges were ready for work. 119 

During the period of rebuilding, the General Assembly of 
North Carolina passed an act, in 1825, similar to the one passed 
by the Virginia legislature. It granted the company the privilege 
of constructing a branch canal from the main waterway to the 
Northwest River, 120 which flowed into Currituck Sound. The 
company had to operate the new canal as a part of the entire 
system, looking after the causeways and locks and charging tolls 
at the rate of a third of those charged on the main waterway. 
Authority was also given for the construction of additional 
inlets, basins, and reservoirs for better operation of the canal, 

116 Norfolk Herald (November 11, 1829), cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic South- 
vrn Port, p. 175. 

117 Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern Port, p. 176. 

us Norfolk Herald, (June 13, 16, 1828; July 16, 1830) cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: 
Historic Southern Port, p. 176. 

119 Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern Port, p. 176. 

120 John Taylor, A Revisal of the Laws of the State of North Carolina (Raleigh, 1827), 
p. 186. 

26 The North Carolina Historical Review 

and the right to prescribe the number and location of bridges 
crossing the canal was granted. 

Concerning the work on the Northwest Canal, a traveller from 
Norfolk wrote in 1829 : 

We pursued our journey along the canal 11 miles, over a road that 
McAdam himself could not improve, when we came to the junction of 
the North West Canal, the cutting of which is in active progress. This 
canal connects North West River with the main canal, requiring a cut 
of six miles, and will open an avenue to market for the vast stores of 
timber in that section, so important for naval purposes, besides the 
various other products of the country. 121 

The canal was completed shortly after the above account was 
written and became a part of the general system. It was six 
miles long, twenty-four feet wide, and four feet deep. 122 

A third canal in the system was the feeder from Lake Drum- 
mond which supplied the main canal with water. Lake Drum- 
mond had a surface of six square miles and varied from ten to 
twenty feet in depth, being twenty-one and a half feet above 
tidewater when full. 123 This feeder canal was five miles long, 
sixteen feet wide, and four and a half feet in depth. A guard 
gate near the lake controlled the flow of water that entered the 
main canal. 124 

Canal traffic began to increase following the opening of the 
improved main waterway in the winter of 1828. Some of the 
larger vessels sailed on to Richmond, Baltimore, or Washing- 
ton, but the majority stopped at Norfolk. In a two-week period 
in June, 1829, traffic on the canal consisted of the following: 
18 lighters, 12 rafts, 1 sloop, and 3 schooners passing through to 
Norfolk ; 2 schooners bound for Weldon ; 2 sloops and 1 schooner 
for Currituck; 3 schooners for Beaufort; 2 sloops and 1 schoon- 
er for Elizabeth City; and 5 schooners and 2 sloops for Eden- 
ton. 125 During 1829 the north-bound trade consisted of 770 
hogshead of tobacco, 1,964 bales of cotton, 2,937 barrels of flour, 

121 Hezekiah Niles, editor, Niles' Weekly Register, XXXVII, 245. 

122 H. S. Tanner, A Description of the Canals and Railroads of the United States (New 
York, 1840), p. 168. 

123 Joseph Martin, A New Comprehensive Gazetteer of Virginia and the District of Co- 
lumbia (Charlottesville, 1835), p. 243. 

124 Tanner, A Description of the Canals and Railroads in the United States, p. 168. 

125 Norfolk Herald, July 16, 1830, cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern Port, 
p. 176. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 27 

2,507 barrels of fish, 30,000 bushels of corn, 1,170,000 staves, 
14,296,000 shingles, and 2,307 barrels of turpentine. 126 

As traffic continued to increase each year the tolls grew from 
$11,658 in 1829 to $18,437 in 1830 and $27,030 in 1831. For the 
year ending April 30, 1833, the tolls reached a total of $34,059. 127 

FOR THE YEAR ENDING April 30, 1833 

Lumber products and naval stores $ 724,918 

Cotton 478,842 

Tobacco 205,793 

Corn 136,021 

Flour 57,792 

Fish 47,908 

Wheat, flax seed, sweet potatoes 34,667 

Provisions 20,304 

Wine, molasses, sugar 7,500 

Total $1,713,796128 

For the same period southbound vessels carried merchandise, 
salt, coffee, molasses, flour, pork, liquors, and other products 
valued at $780,088, making a total value of $2,493,884 for pro- 
duce shipped during the year. 129 

Although the company collected tolls primarily from vessels 
passing through the canal, a certain percentage was derived 
from the various types of vehicles and other traffic using the 
road bordering the waterway. The toll for the use of the road 
was: carts, 25 cents; wagons 50 cents; four wheeled carriages, 
25 cents; man and a horse, I2V2 cents; every head of cattle, 6 
cents; and hogs and sheep, 2 cents each. 130 

For a short time, in 1835, the increasing stream of traffic was 
interrupted by a break in the south lock, but in the next year it 
was resumed in even greater volume. 131 In October, 1836, 78 

126 Norfolk Herald, March 19, 1832, cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern 
Port, p. 176. 

127 Norfolk Herald, March 19, 1832; May 22, 1833, cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: His- 
toric Southern Port, p. 176. 

12 8 Norfolk Herald, May 22, 1833, cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern Port, 
p. 177. 

129 Norfolk Herald, May 22, 1833, cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern 
Port, p. 177. 

130 Weaver, "Internal Improvements in North Carolina Previous to 1860," p. 72. 

131 Norfolk Herald, September 21, 1835, cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern 
Port, p. 177. 

28 The North Carolina Historical Review 

schooners, 3 sloops, 16 lighters, and 21 rafts passed through the 
waterway from North Carolina, while 64 schooners, 3 sloops, 17 
lighters, and 13 other vessels entered the canal from Norfolk. A 
year later, in the same month, 87 schooners, 7 sloops, 16 lighters, 
and 21 rafts entered Norfolk from the south, and 95 schooners, 
5 sloops, and 17 lighters travelled toward North Carolina. 132 

A majority of the canal trade came from the sounds and rivers 
of North Carolina in schooners built especially for such traffic. 
Although a good many of the vessels were towed through the 
swamp by steamboats, some of them were pulled by mule teams 
bitched to the craft by long ropes extending to the towpath along 
the edge of the canal. 133 

In 1841 the tolls received exceeded by forty per cent the aver- 
age receipts for the previous five years. Produce passing through 
the canal that year was valued at $1,237,858, six per cent of 
which was supposedly from Virginia and the remainder from 
North Carolina. The value of merchandise that passed through 
in the same period was $626,115. 134 

According to the shipping news, as reported in the Portsmouth 
Chronicle and Old Dominion from January to July, 1845, nearly 
all the vessels entering Virginia through the Dismal Swamp 
Canal came from the Albemarle Sound region of North Carolina. 
A list of these vessels entering Norfolk indicates that the ports 
of Elizabeth City, Hertford, Nixonton, Edenton, Columbia, Cur- 
rituck, Plymouth, Winton, and the various landings on the 
Chowan and Roanoke rivers were sending ships through the 
canal with great regularity. Lumber, grain, corn, naval stores, 
and fish were the products most often transported on the schoon- 
ers, or in a few instances the sloops, that travelled through the 
canal. 135 The local character of this trade is illustrated by a list 
of the articles passing through the canal in the year ending July, 
1847: 22,360,050 shingles, 5,256,350 staves, 139,000 cubic feet of 
scantling, 47,386 barrels of fish, 43,685 cubic feet of timber, 
3,722 bales of cotton, 30,505 barrels of naval stores, 688 barrels 
of spirits of turpentine, 4,366 hundredweight of bacon, 1,299 kegs 

132 Norfolk Herald, December 6, 1836; November 24, 1837, cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: 
Historic Southern Port, p. 177. 

133 Stansbury, The Lake of the Great Dismal, p. 199. 

134 ivies' Weekly Register, LXI, 203, 288. 

135 Portsmouth Chronicle and Old Dominion, January 6, 1845-July 12, 1845. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 29 

of lard, 1,261,099 bushels of corn, 26,255 bushels of wheat, and 
21,956 bushels of peas. 136 

In the eight years preceding 1851 the average tolls collected 
were $32,906. In that year the tolls amounted to $39,748, and 
reached a total of $45,119 in the following year. 137 The North- 
bound trade included 4,947 bales of cotton, 24,395 barrels of fish, 
and 837,749 bushels of corn. Although the amount of corn had 
decreased, an unusually large quantity of cotton raised the 
amount of tolls collected by the company. 138 

The value of produce transported continued to increase. In 
1853 the exports, or northbound trade, amounted to $2,413,000 
and the imports reached the sum of $804,000, making a total of 
$3,217,000. By 1854 the total had risen to $3,574,000. In this 
period the chief products were still lumber, staves, shingles, 
corn, fish and cotton. 139 


Shingles 24,000,000 

Staves 6,000,000 

Bushels of maize 2,000,000 

Cubic feet of plant, scantling 125,000 

Barrels of shad, herring 50,000 

Cubic feet of ship timber 40,000 

Barrels of naval stores 30,000 

Bushels of wheat 30,000 

Bushels of peas 25,000 

Hundredweights of bacon 5,000 

Bales of cotton 4,500 

Kegs of lard 1,300 

Barrels of spirits of turpentine 700 140 

For quite a while prior to the Civil War the yearly revenue 
from the tolls averaged approximately $38,000, while the annual 
expenses were about $12,000. 141 At the outbreak of the war the 

136 J. D. B. DeBow, editor, The Industrial Resources . . . of the Southern and Western 
States (New Orleans, 1852), II, 182. 

137 William S. Forrest, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Norfolk and Vicinity 
(Philadelphia, 1853) p. 98. 

138 Daily Southern Argus, November 29, 1852, cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic 
Southern Port, p. 178. 

139 Ship Canal to Unite the Waters of Albemarle, Currituck, and Pamlico Sounds with 
Chesapeake Bay (Raleigh, 1854), p. 21. 

1 40 Olmsted, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States, pp. 150-151. 

141 Executive Document No. 19, 45th Congress, 2nd Session, House of Representatives, 
Dismal Swamp Canal .... pp. 3-4. 

30 The North Carolina Historical Review 

capital of the company was $1,600,000; of this sum $386,000 
came from direct subscription, while the remainder was derived 
from application of the revenue gained from the progressive 
improvements of the waterway. In return for its investment of 
$200,000, in 1826 and 1829, the federal government had received 
$136,000, or about two-thirds of its original appropriation. This 
stock had increased in value from $200,000 to $600,000. 142 

The Dismal Swamp Canal, which had become an important 
part of the transportation system of eastern North Carolina, 
was a money-making concern despite its location in a most 
desolate section of the country and its extension into the actual 
swamp for a distance of twenty miles. In 1850 a reporter for 
Chamber's Edinburgh Journal made a journey through the tide- 
water section of North Carolina and Virginia via the Dismal 
Swamp Canal. He noted particularly the monotony and wildness 
of the region. 

Our journey for more than half the distance from Norfolk to Eliza- 
beth City lay along the route of the Dismal Swamp. The road and the 
fine canal running side by side. On the canal were a number of barges, 
laden and being laden with cypress shingles, the best American sub- 
stitutes for our roofing slates, of which the swamp is the great pro- 
ducer. . . . The road was montonous, no change of scenery enlightened 
it; the canal and the tall, dark cypresses flanked our right, and wild 
waste-looking corn fields or tangled bushes our left. Much of this region 
is taken up with pine barrens and morasses. 143 

Leaving Deep Creek at the northern terminus, the canal passed 
first through firm sandy loam, where the water level was higher 
than the surrounding land. After a few miles the swamp land 
proper was reached and continued on both sides of the road and 
canal to the end of the way, where the canal entered down into the 
Pasquotank River near South Mills. All the central and larger por- 
tion of the canal, including its whole middle section and summit 
level, passed through what was originally juniper swamp. The 
height of the canal kept the water higher than would have been 
the case otherwise, by preventing the flow of water toward the 

142 Memorial of the Dismal Swamp Canal Company to the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives of the United States of America (n. p., 1878), p. 2. 

143 "The Dismal Swamp," Chamber's Edinburgh Journal, December 14, 1850, p. 373. This 
article, clipped from the original magazine, is in the University of North Carolina Library. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 31 

lower eastern soil of the swamp. The road was excellent, having 
been built of sand brought in by lighters added to the soil ex- 
cavated from the canal. This soil not only supplied the founda- 
tions for the side road, but also furnished a base for the central 
part of the canal. Good drainage and cultivation were rare along 
the Virginia side of the canal. The land along the southern sec- 
tion was better drained, however, as the water there flowed into 
the lower Pasquotank River. 144 The only dwelling along the 
entire length of the waterway was the Halfway House, situated 
en the state line. This tavern, built about 1800, provided a stop- 
ping place for the stage line that paralleled the canal from Nor- 
folk to Elizabeth City. 145 

An enthusiastic comment was made by Calvin H. Wiley in the 
North Carolina Reader concerning the canal and the tavern : 

About midway of this road, just on the North Carolina line, is a 
public tavern; and this is the only house in all the Great Dismal 
Swamp. The road and canal, however, are like the streets of a populous 
city ; they are crowded with people from end to end, and the traveller is 
never alone. An enormous amount of produce goes over this canal; 
and it is perhaps the best stock in the world. 146 

Criticism of the canal continued despite the large volume of 
traffic it was supporting. Various objections were raised. The 
chief artery of trade, which came from Albemarle Sound, was 
considered sluggish; shoals and logs in the canal necessitated 
lightening of cargoes; 147 and vessels could pass each other only 
where there were recesses or sidings. Added to these handicaps 
were the difficulties encountered at the connection of the canal 
with the Pasquotank River. That part of the route was so crooked 
and the current was so rapid that at times vessels could not be 
propelled by tow lines or sails, but were pushed along with 
poles. 148 

144 Ruffin, Sketches of North Carolina, p. 213. 

145 North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State, p. 277. A great deal of gambling 
went on in the taproom and the place was notorious as a dueling ground and hide out, 
with fugitives from each state hiding across the state line. An unsupported legend relates 
that while visiting at the Halfway House, Edgar Allen Poe wrote his famous poem, The 
Raven. The inn was also celebrated for the many runaway marriages which took place 

146 Calvin H. Wiley, The North Carolina Reader: Containing a History and Description of 
North Carolina, pp. 24-25. 

147 Daily Southern Argus, January 22, 25, 1849, cited by Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic 
Southern Port, p. 178. 

148 Canal to Connect Albemarle, Currituck, and Pamlico Sounds with Chesapeake Bay 
(New York, 1856), p. 8. 

32 The North Carolina Historical Review 

D. D. Simmons and Brothers, commission merchants of Nor- 
folk, after twenty-three years of trade on the Dismal Swamp 
Canal were thoroughly familiar with its drawbacks. They had 
known their ships to be delayed in the upper part of the Pasquo- 
tank River from six to fourteen days and below the south locks 
for two- or three days. It was not uncommon for ten to fifteen 
vessels to be detained at the south end for lack of towage and 
by the low water in the canal. 149 

Another complaint was voiced by John Phillips, master of the 
steamer Loper, engaged in canal trade. He stated that his ship 
traveled 9 miles an hour under easy steam, but the numerous 
bends and the rapid current in the Pasquotank section of the 
waterway slowed his vessel until two or three days were required 
to navigate the 45 miles from Elizabeth City to Norfolk, a dis- 
tance that could ordinarily be traveled in five or six hours in the 
same vessel where navigation was good. 150 

As a result of continued criticism, an effort was made by the 
directors, in 1856, to remove the causes of these complaints. They 
found that a three-and-a-half -mile extension of the canal would 
discharge it into a deeper and wider section of the Pasquotank 
River, thereby missing the worst portion of the stream. This 
addition would also lessen the distance by eight miles. The com- 
pany accordingly decided upon this new improvement at an esti- 
mated cost of $150,000. Expenses were to be met with the profits 
which were expected to accrue from the improved facilities. The 
Civil War interrupted the work at a point known as Turner's 
Cut, business was suspended and the company was left with a 
consequent debt of nearly $100,000. 151 Moreover, competition 
with the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal had already caused a 
decline in the Dismal Swamp Canal trade. This newer canal, as 
its name indicated, connected the same bodies of water as did the 
older waterway. 152 

In contrast to the canals previously constructed in North Caro- 
lina, the Roanoke River Canal did not form a connecting link 
between two or more waterways; it was built as an aid to the 

149 Canal to Connect Albemarle, Currituck, and Pamlico Sounds with Chesapeake Bay, p. 15. 

150 Canal to Connect Albemarle, Currituck, and Pamlico Sounds with Chesapeake Bay, p. 16. 

151 Executive Document No. 19, 45th Congress, 2nd Session, House of Representatives, 
Dismal Swamp Canal . . . , p. 10. 

152 Q. D. Luetscher, "Atlantic Coastwise Canals: Their History and Present Status," 
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (Philadelphia, Janu- 
ary-June, 1908), p. 97. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 33 

navigation of one particular river. In Virginia, the Dan and the 
Staunton converge to form the Roanoke, which flows through 
northeastern North Carolina into Albemarle Sound; the river 
has its headwaters in the mountains of the two states and drains 
a large section of both. Near Weldon are the falls of the Roanoke 
where, within a few miles, the river drops 100 feet. 153 These 
falls presented a serious obstacle to the safe passage of vessels 
from the upper to the lower river, and it was in an effort to over- 
come this difficulty that the Roanoke Navigation Company built 
the Weldon or Roanoke Canal. 

The Roanoke Navigation Company was chartered in 1812 with 
the principal objective of improving river navigation from the 
town of Halifax to the Virginia line. 154 To accomplish this, the 
company planned to open the river westward from Halifax by 
constructing canals, locks, or sluices. The state granted the com- 
pany authority to levy tolls but reserved the privilege of sub- 
scribing to 200 shares of stock — each share being valued at $100. 
By an amending act, passed in 1815, 155 the capital stock was 
increased to $300,000 and the state was allotted 250 shares. In 
addition, the company was authorized not only to improve the 
river from Halifax to Virginia but also to extend the project 
over the entire section of North Carolina through which the 
stream flowed. The Roanoke Navigation Company was soon 
organized and January 1, 1838 was set as the completion date 
for the canal. 156 

These acts fixed the company's rights in North Carolina. But 
the Dan and the Staunton flowed through a large area of Vir- 
ginia, so that if a comprehensive program were to be followed, a 
charter from that state also was necessary. In 1816 Virginia 
passed an act similar to the one previously enacted in North 
Carolina and subscribed to $80,000 worth of stock. The North 
Carolina law provided for a subscription of $25,000, with a 
reservation that the sum could be increased to equal that held 
by Virginia. 157 

The falls presented the greatest obstacle to improving the river 
as below Weldon the river was navigable to Albemarle Sound, 

153 Hoyt, The Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II, 136. 

154 Laws of North Carolina, 1812, ch. 88. 

155 Laws of North Carolina, 1815, ch. 13. 

156 Laws of North Carolina, 1816, ch. 34. 

157 Hoyt, Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II, 136. 

34 The North Carolina Historical Review 

with the exception of occasional shoals and bars. Above the falls 
only a moderate amount of dredging was thought to be necessary 
to afford excellent navigation in the upper river for small boats, 
particularly lighters and bateaux. By 1817 construction was well 
under way and land along the upper river had increased greatly 
in value. 

The navigation company planned to construct a canal around 
the falls, thereby enabling upper river traffic to descend to the 
lower river and into Albemarle Sound. After making a survey, 
in 1819, Hamilton Fulton recommended that the company issue 
a contract for the entire project rather than employing the form- 
er system of piecework. 158 

Within the following year Fulton and Thomas Moore, the 
engineer for Virginia, met at the canal and made a joint report. 
They suggested that the locks be built seventy-five feet long and 
twelve feet wide, stating in their report that the river would 
never require larger locks. They also recommended an entrance 
or guard lock, at the western end of the canal, to prevent injury 
to the works by flood waters and to insure free and uninter- 
rupted navigation at all times. 159 

In 1821 Fulton again surveyed the route and laid out the com- 
plete line with specifications for locks in the central section of 
the canal. Construction below the locks progressed to the basin at 
Weldon, where the company proposed an eastern outlet. 160 

By November, 1822, the company had spent $216,665.12% on 
the waterway, 161 and in the next year it was complete with the 
exception of several hundred yards lying between the river and 
the basin at Weldon. Vessels had already begun to pass from the 
upper river through the canal and into the basin. 162 

The Roanoke Canal extended from the town of Rock Landing 
for eight and three-fourths miles, on the south side of the river, 
to Weldon. A pond, which was formed by the construction of a 
low, rock-and-gravel dam at the head of a considerable rapid, 
served as its western entrance. The guard lock, located 400 feet 
from the entrance, had no lift or fall and functioned merely as a 

158 Hoyt, Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II, 86. 

159 Report of Sundry Surveys Made by Hamilton Fulton, Esq. Agreeably to Certain In- 
structions from Judge Murphey, and Submitted to the General Assembly at Their Session 
in 1819 (Raleigh, 1819), p. 9. 

160 Report of the Board of Public Improvements of North Carolina, 1821, p. xi. 

161 Report of the Board of Public Improvements of North Carolina, 1822, p. vii. 

162 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1823, p. 5. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 35 

control over the flow of water from the river into the canal. The 
waterway had an average width of twenty-five feet to the middle 
locks, three miles down the canal. These locks were composed of 
two combinations of two lifts each, with a total lift of thirty-five 
feet. They were sixteen feet wide — a greater width than that 
recommended by Fulton — and were supplied with slide sluices 
for wasting. From the middle locks to the basin at Weldon the 
canal stretched a little over five miles ; it was twenty-five feet 
wide and four feet deep. 163 

From the basin at Weldon to the river was a distance of 1,800 
feet, through which, at this time, the canal had not been built. 
Extension of the canal over this area would entail the construc- 
tion of several locks at considerable expense, or would necessitate 
a portage from the basin to the landing on the river. The com- 
pany was therefore undecided whether or not to undertake ex- 
tending the project. In this connection, Fulton reported to the 
Board of Internal Improvements as follows : 

The expediency or inexpediency of locking into the river at Weldon's 
Orchard, depends, in my opinion, very much on the manner in which 
the produce carried down the river is purchased. If the produce of the 
country above the canal be purchased by general agents or wholesale 
merchants, and by them transported down the river and through the 
canal, for the purpose of being transshipped into vessels capable of 
navigating Albemarle Sound, and thence through the Dismal Swamp 
Canal to Norfolk; in this case, the erection of the locks will be a work 
of less importance. But if the produce is to be carried to market by its 
grower, in their bateaux, then the erection of the locks becomes an 
object of the greatest importance. In the latter case the producer will 
either have to sell his produce at Weldon, where there is not a sufficient 
market, or will have to portage his goods to the Roanoke River and 
hire another set of hands and a boat to take his produce to Williamston 
or Plymouth. If he plans to make any purchases and return with them, 
the same problem of transshipment would confront him. 164 

The Board of Internal Improvements was anxious for the 
Roanoke Navigation Company to complete the final section of the 
canal ; it accordingly recommended to the General Assembly that 
the state subscribe to 250 shares of stock, thereby aiding in the 

163 Roanoke Navigation Company, Engineer's Report ( Portsmouth, Virginia, 1860 ) , pp. 2-4. 

164 Report of the Board of Public Improvements of North Carolina, 1822, p. 29. 

36 The North Carolina Historical Review 

completion of the project from the basin to the river. 165 In re- 
sponse to the Board's request, the General Assembly passed an 
act, in 1823, subscribing to 250 shares upon the condition that 
the money thus subscribed be spent in construction of locks to 
connect the lower end of the canal with the river. 166 This sub- 
scription granted by the legislature was not accepted, however, 
by the Roanoke Navigation Company. Its directors stated that 
the stone locks would cost $19,000 more than the state subscrip- 
tion provided for, and even wooden locks would average $10,000 
above the sum subscribed. Moreover, the company contended that 
it was not necessary to send bateaux down the river ; it argued 
that the steamboats which ascended the lower part of the stream 
at Weldon could transport produce to towns in North Carolina 
and that the Dismal Swamp Canal provided a waterway to 
Norfolk. 16 ? 

For several years the navigation company centered its atten- 
tion upon improving the Roanoke below the falls, and improving 
the Staunton and the Dan above the falls. Sluicing on the Dan 
extended 152 miles above the canal to Leaks ville, Rockingham 
County, North Carolina, and the Staunton was improved 88 
miles beyond the waterway. Below the falls, with the exception 
of 15 miles, the entire river was made navigable for large boats. 
Produce from the upper river flowed through the canal to the 
basin where it was drayed to the river landing and on to the 
boats waiting to transport it downstream. 168 

The idea of locks connecting river and canal persisted, how- 
ever, and upon continued insistence by the state the company 
accepted the stock subscription, in 1828, on the terms stipulated 
by the legislature five years previously. 169 Construction of the 
new locks began immediately but moved forward slowly. Since 
Hamilton Fulton was no longer employed by the Board of In- 
ternal Improvements, the project was directed by Colonel An- 
drew Joiner, treasurer of the navigation company. After two 
years of labor less than one-half of the project had been com- 
pleted. 1 ™ 

165 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1832, p. 56. 

166 Laws of North Carolina, 1823, ch. 17. 

16T Report of the Directors of the Stockholders in the Roanoke Navigation Company on 
the Subject of Looking into the River at Weldon (Halifax, 1824), pp. 4-6. 

168 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1827, p. 15. 

169 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1828, p. 6. 
no Report of the Roanoke Navigation Company, 1830, p. 2. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 37 

In November, 1832, communication between the basin and 
locks was opened ; the first, second, and third locks were finished, 
and water was let into the basins between them. The fourth lock 
pit, however, was so soft and spongy that it was necessary, in 
order to establish a suitable foundation, to drive poles fourteen 
to eighteen feet deep throughout the pit, upon which the lock was 
raised. The fifth and sixth locks were framed and ready to go 
into place as soon as the foundations were prepared, but heavy 
rains hindered completion of the work by causing the banks of 
the lock pit to slip and cave in. 171 

The locks were finally completed in the fall of 1834 and the 
canal was opened to traffic. Unfortunately, shortly after comple- 
tion of the locks, the Roanoke flooded, breaking the sides of the 
lower locks. The company directors decided against re-building 
the damaged locks, arguing again that produce could be carried 
from the basin, by land, as easily as it could pass through the 
locks — even if the locks were in the best possible condition. 172 

While the last set of locks was being constructed, improvements 
in river navigation had greatly increased commerce on the canal. 
For the year ending October, 1830, there passed through the 
canal 1,728 hogsheads of tobacco, 4,030 barrels of flour, and 532 
bales of cotton ; the company collected tolls of $1,827.88 for the 
period. This produce entered the western end of the canal, passed 
through to the basin, and was then drayed to the river. 173 


Hogsheads of Tobacco 3,094 

Barrels of Flour 9,768 

Sacks of Salt , 1,386 

Bales of Cotton 699 

Barrels of Fish 252% 

Hogsheads of Tobacco Stems 78 

Barrels of Tar 93 

Kegs and Boxes of Manufactured Tobacco 1,564% 

Hogsheads of Sugar 43 

Barrels of Sugar 29% 

Pounds of Coffee 17,680 

Pounds of Nails 7,593 

171 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1832, p. 21. 

172 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1835, p. 7. 

173 Report of the Roanoke Navigation Company, 1830, p. 3. I 

38 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Pounds of Dry Goods 39,068 

Pounds other than Dry Goods 51,784 

Gallons of Wine 613 

Gallons of Molasses 2,462 

Gallons of Domestic Spirits 1,016 

Gallons of Foreign Spirits 491 

Casks of Lime 21 

Tons of Castings 4 4 /s 

Pounds of Loaf Sugar 2,867 

Pounds of Lard 320 

Pounds of Raw Hides 720 

Pounds of Ginger, Pepper, Allspice 656 

Casks of Cheese 6 

Gallons of Linseed Oil 100 

Feet of Scantling 7,083 

Boxes of Tallow Candles 16 

Boxes of Sperm Candles 4 

Barrels of Beer 10 

Bushels of Flax Seed 28 

Pounds of Beeswax 421 1 74 

By 1835 the tolls collected on produce passing through the 
canal had increased to $7,426.40. The upper rivers had been im- 
proved. The Staunton, except at very low water, was navigable 
for small boats through the Blue Ridge Mountains to Salem, 
Virginia, and the Dan was also navigable to the foot of the Saura 
Town Mountains in Stokes County, North Carolina. 175 


Hogsheads of Tobacco 6,877 

Hogsheads of Tobacco Stems 191 

Hogsheads of Sugar 124 

Barrels of Flour 10,646V 2 

Barrels of Sugar 29 

Barrels of Tar 63 

Barrels of Port 21 

Barrels of Fish 731 

Bushels of Wheat 700 

Bushels of Flax Seed 25 

Bushels of Corn 800 

174 Report of the Progress and Present Condition of the Affairs of the Roanoke Naviga- 
tion Company (Raleigh, 1831), p. 7. The tolls for this period were $3,811.27. 

175 Report of the Board for Interval Improvements of North Carolina, 1835, p. 6. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 39 

Bushels of Clover Seed 75 

Pounds of Manufactured Tobacco ...352,994 

Pounds of Nails 30,940 

Pounds of Coffee 55,620 

Pounds of White Sugar 7,525 

Pounds of Spices 754 

Pounds of Beeswax 867 

Pounds of Copper 3,575 

Pounds of Seed Cotton 3,230 

Pounds of Grindstones 14,590 

Pounds of Feathers 84 

Pounds of Bacon 24,343 

Pounds of Raw Hides 720 

Pounds of Goods 253,806 

Pounds of Dry Goods 77,922 

Gallons of Molasses 9,365 

Gallons of Wine 1,518 

Gallons of Domestic Spirits 9,179 

Gallons of Foreign Spirits 1,387 

Gallons of Vinegar 627 

Gallons of Train Oil ..... 350 

Gallons of Spirits of Turpentine 65 

Sacks of Salt 5,921 

Casks of Cheese „ 23 

Casks of Lime 546 

Bales of Cotton 214 

Boxes of Tallow Candles 66 

Feet of Mill Stones 20 

Tons of Bar Iron 37 

Tons of Castings 8 

Tons of Gipsum 28% 

Shingles 7,000 1T6 

Canal tolls continued to increase. For the year ending Novem- 
ber 1, 1837, they amounted to $5,680.11, and in the following 
year they had reached the sum of $8,845.66. 177 

At this period in the history of the Roanoke Navigation Com- 
pany, the Petersburg Railroad was completed to Gaston — near 
the head of the canal — and the Portsmouth and Roanoke Rail- 
road had nearly reached Weldon. 178 These two railroads soon 
drew a large part of the up-country trade that had formerly gone 
down the lower Roanoke River to Norfolk. Several years later 

176 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1835, p. 17. 

177 Reports of A. Joiner, Treasurer, to the President and Directors of the Roanoke 
Navigation Company (Weldon, 1837), p. 1. 

178 Report of the Board for Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1838, p. 34. 

40 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Weldon and Gaston were connected by railroad and the Roanoke 
Canal was no longer considered an important outlet for the com- 
merce of that region. 179 

The improvements made in the upper river allowed bateaux to 
descend the falls but steamboats, which had begun to travel on 
the lower river, were not able to navigate around the falls. De- 
spite these improvements and the large sums of money which 
had been spent on the upper river and canal, the navigation 
company's future was seriously threatened by the advent of the 
railroad and the steamboat. 

In a report made to the stockholders in 1838 the president of 
the Roanoke Navigation Company summed up the difficulties : 

At no period of our existence have the means of sending produce 
from home to any market been so great, or the transportation so cheap. 
The Roanoke region by means of these two roads, Petersburg Railroad 
and Portsmouth Railroad now have access to any and all the markets 
of the Union; to predict which, twenty years ago, would have been 
considered madness. The improvements however, of that period, more 
particularly, the great revolutions which have been wrought by the 
use of steam power, have disclosed the fact that our sluice navigation 
is unsuited to and insufficient for the wants and convenience of the 
country through which our rivers flow. Our improvements were planned 
and constructed before the advantages of steam power were generally 
known. Were they now to be made, there can be no doubt our funds 
might be more advantageously applied for ourselves, and for the 
country. 180 

The years which followed brought a further decline in the 
fortunes of the Roanoke Navigation Company and, as canal 
trade continued to decrease, permission was granted, in 1859, to 
discontinue the waterway. The company was allowed to sell all 
real estate and other holdings between Gaston and Weldon, pro- 
vided the proceeds of the sale were used in paying its debts. 181 

One of the contributing factors in the decline of the Dismal 
Swamp Canal was the construction of a newer waterway which 
joined the sound region of North Carolina with Norfolk and 
Chesapeake Bay. The Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal began, 

1T9 Cecil Kenneth Brown, A State Movement in Railroad Development, The Story of North 
Carolina's First Effort to Establish an East and West Trunk Line Railroad, p. 59. 

180 Report of the Board of Internal Improvements of North Carolina, 1838, p. 34. 

181 Laws of North Carolina, 1859, ch. 143. '' 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 41 

at its southern end, in the upper reaches of the North River and 
crossed the Currituck peninsula to the sound ; running from Cur- 
rituck Sound to North Landing, Virginia, the route included the 
North Landing River and by means of excavation connected the 
Elizabeth River and Chesapeake Bay. 

As early as 1807 this route had attracted the attention of the 
federal government. Robert Fulton, civil engineer to Albert 
Gallatin, reported to the United States Senate that a charter had 
been issued for the construction of a canal connecting the Eliza- 
beth River with Currituck Sound. No stock was subscribed, how- 
ever, as the Dismal Swamp Canal was already under way. This 
canal was supposed to provide eight-foot navigation and also to 
have a capacity equal to that of the Delaware and Raritan and 
the Chesapeake and Delaware canals, thus forming a portion of 
an inland waterway from New York to the sounds of North 

Sometime later this same course was surveyed by Hamilton 
Fulton, under the direction of the North Carolina Board of In- 
ternal Improvements, and by T. L. Patterson for the common 
council of Norfolk. These more or less superficial surveys dem- 
onstrated the practicability of such a route and furnished val- 
uable data for future reference. 182 

Marshall Parks, of Virginia, was the actual founder of the 
Albemarle and Chesapeake and Canal Company. Parks had pre- 
viously worked for the Dismal Swamp Canal Company, of which 
his father had been manager for twenty-five years, and knew 
from experience the necessity of furnishing an outlet for the 
commerce of that region. He was well aware of the difficulties to 
be encountered in securing a charter for a corporation that 
would compete with the canal company in which the state of Vir- 
ginia held stock. He therefore applied for the revival of an act 
passed by the Virginia legislature, March 15, 1850, incorporating 
the Great Bridge Lumber and Canal Company. 183 

In 1854 the legislature amended the act of 1850 and granted 
a charter to the prospective company. This charter provided for 

182 Document No. 22, North Carolina General Assembly, Session 1860-1861, Governor's 
Message and Busbee's Report on the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal Company, p. 7. Gov- 
ernor Ellis had appointed Busbee to inspect and report on the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal. His report is contained in the document along with the message of the governor. 
Busbee was the reading clerk of the state senate. Raleigh North Carolina Standard, Janu- 
ary 27, 1855. 

183 Busbee's Report, p. 8. 

42 The North Carolina Historical Review 

the opening of subscription books at Norfolk and other desig- 
nated places to receive applications for stock. It also stipulated 
that subscriptions must total not less than $50,000 and not more 
than $500,000, with each share equal to $100, and that the city 
of Norfolk, upon the approval vote of three-fourths of its popula- 
tion, could subscribe to an amount not exceeding $100,000. The 
newly recreated Great Bridge Lumber and Canal Company was 
then empowered to obtain lumber and to cut a canal from the 
waters of the Elizabeth River to the North Landing River. 184 

The company was granted the right to purchase and hold land, 
not exceeding 30,000 acres, in Norfolk and Princess Anne 
counties, together with 100 yards of land on each side of the 
entire length of the canal. It could also hold and employ such 
machinery, boats, and other equipment as might be needed. The 
president and directors were allowed to demand and receive the 
same tolls as those collected by the Dismal Swamp Canal 
Company. 185 

Following passage of the act granting its charter, the company 
was organized in November, 1854, with Asa Worthington as 
president, Marshall Parks as vice president, and James Gordon, 
Thomas V. Webb, B. F. Simmons, and A. M. Burt as directors. 
Parks induced his friends to take the minimum amount of stock 
necessary for incorporation. Although favorably impressed with 
the advantages to be derived from the new canal, the city of 
Norfolk did not take any stock in the company. A large per cent 
of the traders and merchants considered the scheme visionary 
and their lack of cooperation made it difficult to arouse the inter- 
est of non-residents. 186 

A charter from North Carolina, or a confirmation of the exist- 
ing one, was necessary if the company was to extend its opera- 
tions into that state. Marshall Parks, endeavoring to stimulate 
interest, published a pamphlet in which he discussed the im- 
portance and utility of the canal as a public improvement, esti- 
mated the cost of construction, and predicted the probable volume 
of trade expected to pass through the new waterway. Ocracoke 
Inlet and the Dismal Swamp Canal had been the chief outlets 

184 Canal to Connect Albemarle, Currituck, and Pamlico Sounds with Chesapeake Bay 
(New York, 1856), p. 19. 

185 Canal to Connect Albemarle, Currituck, and Pamlico Sounds with Chesapeake Bay, 
pp. 19-20. 

186 Busbee's Report, p. 9. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 43 

for commerce of the sound region ; but the Ocracoke route proved 
impracticable, due to the high freight and insurance rates, and 
the Dismal Swamp Canal was too small, lacking sufficient depth 
and having currents which hindered navigation. The new canal 
was expected to offer a short, safe, and comparatively inex- 
pensive waterway which would draw trade from these older and 
less convenient routes. 187 

In 1855 North Carolina's coastwise tonnage comprised two- 
thirds of the water-borne commerce, while the remaining one- 
third was devoted to foreign trade. The Albemarle and Pamlico 
region, with an annual tonnage of 45,000 tons, contributed three- 
fourths of the coastal commerce, but a large percentage of this 
shipping was carried on in vessels from other states. Practically 
all of the northbound trade and much of the southbound traffic 
was expected to use the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal rather 
than run the risks and delays of navigating through Ocracoke 
Inlet. 188 

Shortly after publication of Parks' pamphlet, Senator Jones, 
of Currituck County, introduced in the General Assembly of 
North Carolina bill "To Incorporate a Company to Construct a 
Ship Canal to Unite the Waters of Albemarle, Currituck, and 
Pamlico Sounds with Chesapeake Bay." 189 The bill was referred 
to the senate committee on internal improvements, where it re- 
ceived a favorable hearing. The committee reported that twenty 
counties were directly and immediately interested in this project, 
which was expected to increase greatly the prosperity of the en- 
tire northeastern section of the state. In the opinion of the com- 
mittee, the difficulties and handicaps encountered in navigating 
the Dismal Swamp Canal and Ocracoke Inlet made it necessary 
to offer the citizens of eastern North Carolina a new and better 
water route. A proposal was made suggesting that the state en- 
dorse the bonds of the company; the corporation was then to 
furnish sufficient security to warrant this endorsement. 190 

The committee reported at length on the desirability of the 

187 Ship Canal to Unite the Waters of Albemarle, Currituck, and Pamlico Sounds with 
Chesapeake Bay (Raleigh, 1854), pp. 3, 8-17. 

188 Canal to Connect Albemarle, Currituck, and Pamlico Sounds with Chesapeake Bay, p. 4. 

189 Busbee's Report, p. 10. 

19° Report of the Senate Committee on Internal Improvements on the Bill to Construct a 
Ship Canal to Connect the Waters of Albemarle, Currituck, and Pamlico Sounds with Chesa- 
peake Bay (Raleigh, 1855), pp. 3-6. 

44 The North Carolina Historical Review 

proposed project and presented figures illustrating the expected 
traffic on the canal, as follows : 





Ship Canal Dismal Swamp Canal 

7,500 Bales of Cotton 4,921 

40,000 Barrels of Fish 30,821 

80,000 Barrels of Naval Stores 53,332 

2,000,000 Bushels of Corn 1,176,069 

250,000 Bushels of Wheat 113,004 

50,000 Bushels of Peas 17,428 

100,000 Bushels of Potatoes 10,374 

500,000 Cubic Feet of Timber 164,089 

10,000,000 Feet of Lumber 5,945,186 

10,500,000 Oak Staves 7,164,490 

60,000,000 Cypress and Juniper Shingles 44,364,420 

50,000 Cords of Firewood 5,623 

200 Vessels with Fresh Fish 50 

300 Vessels with Vegetables none 191 

The legislature of North Carolina, having received the com- 
mittee report, passed an act incorporating the company. In the 
preamble of the law, attention was focused upon the fact that the 
state possessed no adequate channel for commerce from the sound 
region to the ocean. As Virginia had incorporated the Great 
Bridge Lumber and Canal Company and granted it the right to 
connect the Elizabeth River with the North Landing River, so 
North Carolina empowered the company to construct a canal 
from Currituck Sound to the North River, thus completing the 
route from Chesapeake Bay to Albemarle Sound. The act pro- 
vided that the capital stock of the Great Bridge Lumber and 
Canal Company should form a part of the stock of the new com- 
pany. It also provided that, for the purpose of raising additional 
subscriptions, the company could, upon thirty days notice, open 
books at Currituck Court House, Shiloe in Camden County, 
Elizabeth City, Hertford, Edenton, Gatesville, Winton, Windsor, 
Jackson, Halifax, Plymouth, Williamston, Columbia, Hyde 

191 Report of the Senate Committee on Internal Improvements (1855), p. 6. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 45 

County Court House, Tarboro, Washington, New Bern, and other 
such places as it might direct. Subscriptions were not to exceed 
$300,000 in shares of $100 each. For each share $5.00 was to be 
paid at the time of purchase and the remainder of the sum was 
subject to call by the company. If a majority of the directors were 
residents of North Carolina, the company was to have the same 
officers as the Great Bridge Lumber and Canal Company and 
also the same rights and duties as were provided in the Virginia 
act of incorporation. To secure the land through which the canal 
must pass, the law stipulated that such property could be con- 
demned upon the payment to the owner of a price designated as 
fair by a jury of twelve. As a further aid to the corporation, any 
county was allowed to subscribe to stock not exceeding $50,000, 
provided the matter had been first submitted to the voters. In 
addition, the state of North Carolina endorsed the bonds of the 
company for $250,000 — for which the canal company mortgaged 
its entire works. The company was continued as the Great Bridge 
Lumber and Canal Company, but its name might be changed to 
the Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal Company — or any other — 
upon authorization of the Virginia legislature. 192 

On February 28, 1856, the legislature of Virginia passed an 
act assenting to all the provisions of the North Carolina law and 
changed the corporation's name to the Albemarle and Chesa- 
peake Canal Company. The capital stock authorized by Virginia 
plus that authorized by North Carolina gave the company a total 
capital stock of $800,000. 193 

A preliminary survey of the canal route was made in the 
spring of 1855 by Courtright, Barton, and Company of New 
York, under the direction of John Lathrop, who remained in the 
company's service as chief engineer. 194 The route started at the 
upper part of the North River, a wide and deep tributary of 
Albemarle Sound, and by way of a five-mile-long canal led into 
the northern portion of Currituck Sound. Currituck Sound and 
the North Landing River provided a natural waterway to North 
Landing, Virginia, and from there an excavation of nine miles 
would link the canal with the Elizabeth River. 195 

192 Laws of North Carolina, 1855, ch. 93. 

193 Canal to Connect Albemarle, Currituck, and Pamlico Sounds with Chesapeake Bay, pp. 

1 94 Busbee's Report, p. 10. 

195 Canal to Connect Albemarle, Currituck, and Pamlico Sounds with Chesapeake Bay, p. 3. 

46 The North Carolina Historical Review 

The contractors proposed building the canal along this route 
at a depth of six feet at low tide and with a width of forty-three 
feet at the bottom and sixty-one feet at water surface. This 
excavation, with the installation of one or two locks and the 
necessary deepening of the rivers, would cost an estimated sum 
of $800,000. At a board meeting, July 11, 1855, this offer was 
accepted and the contract was executed the twenty-fifth of the 
following August. The contract was to be paid as follows : 
$400,000 in company stock at par value, $250,000 in guaranteed 
bonds of the company, and $150,000 in cash. Upon the com- 
pletion of work worth an estimated $100,000 — an estimation to 
be determined by an engineer — a like amount of stock was to 
be paid to the contractors. Following that payment, monthly 
estimates were to be made and the contractors were to receive 
the bonds of the company for the previous month's work until 
another $100,000 had been spent. After this sum of $200,000 
was paid, the contractors were to receive monthly the sum due 
in equal amounts of bonds, cash, and certificates of stock, while 
the company was to retain ten per cent of the stock payment as 
security for the proper construction of the canal. The contractors 
agreed to take an additional $150,000 in stock, in lieu of cash 
payment, from such stockholders as desired to transfer their 
shares. These stockholders were to be designated by Parks and 
Burt. 196 

Under this contract, Courtright, Barton, and Company began 
construction at each end of the canal in October, 1855, and, ac- 
cording to their agreement, they promised to finish the work 
within two years. 197 The entire length of the excavation was 
approximately fourteen miles, running through very low and 
level ground. The main operation consisted of a straight cut from 
the deep water of the North Landing River to tidewater at Great 
Bridge, on the principal branch of the Elizabeth River. The 
Virginia cut ran along the course of a shallow, straight depres- 
sion where the land was low and swampy. In North Carolina the 
cut extended for five miles through a low, marshy peninsula 
lying between the deep water of Currituck and Albemarle 
sounds. 198 

WGBusbee's Report, pp. 10-11. 

197 Busbee's Report, p. 12. 

198 Ruffin, Sketches of North Carolina, pp. 140-141. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 47 

Edmund Ruffin, in traveling through eastern Virginia and 
North Carolina, made a tour of inspection of the project on 
which he reported : 

But this very level of the land through the route, which so lessens 
the amount of earth to be excavated, serves, in most places, to increase 
the difficulty of the work. The surface of the swampy ground is, in 
many places, so nearly level with the water, and the earth is so gener- 
ally a quagmire of peat, and so full of dead roots and buried logs, 
under the water, and of living trees and roots over and at the surface, 
when but very little above water, that the difficulties of removing such 
obstructions are very great, and would be insuperable if by the use of 
ordinary utensils, and with hand-labor. 199 

Excavation of the canal was facilitated by the use of steam 
dredges, fifty to sixty feet long and equipped with sixteen-horse- 
power steam engines. In May, 1856, there were seven of these 
dredges at work. Excavation began in deep water, which was 
necessary to float the vessels, and the machines worked side by 
side as they dredged the full width of the canal, moving forward 
after finishing each position. The machines operated on the crane 
principle with a scoop at the end of the beam which cut into the 
earth, removed it from the hole, and deposited it on the banks of 
the channel. 200 

At the first annual meeting of the company, held in Norfolk 
on December 2, 1856, a report showed that 4,433 of the total of 
5,449 shares were represented and accordingly entitled to 1,250 
of the 1,852 votes. Marshall Parks was unanimously elected presi- 
dent and the nine directors elected were T. L. Skinner, B. T. 
Simmons, Mills Roberts, Edmund Simmons, and Jas. C. Johnston 
of North Carolina; Thos. V. Webb, James Gordon, and J. Cary 
Weston of Virginia; and A. M. Burt of New York. 201 

The route of the canal was located in the Spring of 1856 
and stretched for 8.45 miles in Virginia and 5.65 miles 
in North Carolina, making a total length of 14.10 miles 
exclusive of the contemplated improvements in the natural 
waterways which formed a part of the proposed route. The 
prevalence of yellow fever in Norfolk and Portsmouth delayed 

1" Ruffin, Sketches of North Carolina, p. 143. 
2 °0 Ruffin, Sketches of North Carolina, p. 144. 

201 First Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company (Norfolk, 1857), pp. 3-4. 

48 The North Carolina Historical Review 

construction, but by February 13, 1856, the first dredge had 
begun operation; the last one had started the following May, 
so that by December about two miles of the canal had been com- 
pleted. Only two dredges were employed on the North Carolina 
cut, where the digging was comparatively easy. The dredges 
working at North Landing — the first put in operation — met 
with unforeseen difficulties, however, and excavation proceeded 
slowly. The seventh dredge and a pump and pile driver were used 
in excavating for the lock, which was located about three-fourths 
of a mile west of Great Bridge. This lock was to be 220 feet long 
and 40 feet wide, with a foundation sunk sufficiently low to pro- 
vide for a draft of eight feet of water. 202 


Capital Stock Subscribed 

By individuals $504,000.00 

By county of Currituck 44,000.00 


Received in cash, labor, materials, and 

county bonds for stock paid in full $134,900.00 

Installments on stock not paid in full 7,930.07 


Construction $ 80,000.00 

Engineers 9,382.41 

Office 486.34 

Contingent 3,829.84 

Land Damages 183.65 

Property, Steam Excavators, etc 63,000.00 

Commission 1,800.00 

$158,582.24 2 03 

In February, 1857, the General Assembly of North Carolina 
amended the company's charter by providing that the bonds, 
which had been endorsed by the state, were to be surrendered 

202 First Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company, p. 8. 

203 First Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company, pp. 8-9. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 49 

and the mortgage which had been executed by the company was 
declared void. To replace the bond endorsement, the state sub- 
scribed to $250,000 shares of stock and pledged an additional 
$100,000, to be paid when sea-going vessels began using the 
canal. This act also granted the company the privilege of increas- 
ing its capital stock to $1,500,000. 204 Sometime later the Vir- 
ginia legislature complied with the North Carolina amendment. 
The $250,000 stock subscribed by North Carolina was paid for 
as follows: $25,000 on April 8, 1857; $60,000 on April 23, 1857; 
$165,000 on May 22, 1857; and the additional $100,000 on May 
16, 1859. 205 

The second annual meeting of stockholders was held in Nor- 
folk, November 12, 1857, with 2,007 of the total 2,482 votes rep- 
resented. Parks was re-elected president and the number of 
directors was reduced to six — J. Cary Weston, Thos. V. Webb, 
L. H. Chandler, and James Gordon of Virginia; B. T. Simmons 
of North Carolina ; and A. M. Burt of New York. 

During the previous year two more dredges had been put to 
work on the canal, making a total of nine machines : two were 
on the North Carolina section, two at North Landing, two in the 
middle of the Virginia cut, and three at Great Bridge. Excava- 
tions at the various locations totaled a fraction over five miles, 
more than four-fifths of which was the full contemplated length 
of the canal. Two miles of the remaining distance, as yet incom- 
plete, consisted of the line across Coinjock Bay in Currituck 
County — a section requiring only one-fourth as much excavation 
as the remainder of the line. Construction of the lock had also pro- 
gressed ; one-third of the piles, upon which the stone masonry of 
the foundation was to be placed, had already been driven. 206 


Subscription by Individuals $515,400.00 

Less Individuals Unpaid 393,109.93 


204 Laws of North Carolina, 1857, ch. 46. 

205 Busbee's Report, p. 13. 

206 First Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company (Norfolk, 1857), pp. 1-6. 

50 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Subscription from North Carolina $250,000.00 

Subscription from Currituck County 44,000.00 


In the fall of 1858, 3,600 feet of land had not yet been ex- 
cavated; 1,600 feet were located in North Carolina and the 
remaining 2,000 feet lay in Virginia. The canal lock was sup- 
posed to be completed by the following February: it was to be 
the largest lock on the Atlantic coast, built of solid cut stone 
from the Maryland granite quarries and possessing a double set 
of gates. Being a tide lock, its lift was only one-half the rise or 
fall of the tide — usually not exceeding two feet — and its ca- 
pacity was sufficient to allow the passage of vessels carrying 500 
tons. 208 

Complying to a request made by the canal company to the 
Treasury Department, the federal government ordered the officer 
in charge of the fifth lighthouse district to direct a survey and 
place lights and buoys in the North River and Currituck Sound. 
The superintendent of the coastal survey accordingly detailed a 
party to complete an inspection of the upper North Landing River 
and Currituck Sound. 209 

In accordance with the North Carolina law of 1857, the com- 
pany had obligated itself to enlarge and deepen the canal suf- 
ficiently to allow passage of vessels drawing seven and a half feet 
of water. This necessitated a new agreement with Cartright, 
Barton, and Company. At its meeting of November 13, 1858, the 
board of directors, therefore, passed a resolution requesting the 
company to negotiate with the contractors relative to enlarging 
the canal. A survey and estimate were made and reported by the 
engineer, June 28, 1859 ; a new contract was let, calling for eight- 
foot navigation at an additional expenditure of $250,000. The 
contractors agreed to accept seven-per-cent mortgage coupons, 
at eighty-seven and a half cents on the dollar, payable in monthly 
installments upon progression of the canal. A provision was in- 
serted in the agreement which maintained that if the contractors 

207 Second Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesa- 
peake Canal Company, p. 7. 

208 Third Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company (New York, 1858), p. 4. 

209 Third Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company, p. 4. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 51 

should sell their bonds at a higher evaluation than eighty-seven 
and a half cents on the dollar, the excess thus received was to be 
accounted to the company as partial payment of its debt of 
$250,000. This agreement did not affect any former contract be- 
tween the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal Company and Cart- 
right, Barton, and Company. 210 

Although the completed canal would be much larger than had 
been contemplated at first and the difficulties encountered had 
proved formidable, the cost of the fully equipped waterway would 
fall short by a quarter of a million dollars of the authorized 
capital of $1,500,000. All the funds for construction of the canal 
were derived from stock subscriptions, at par, and the company 
at this time had no debt either floating or funded and had no 
interest accruing against it for any purpose. 211 


Capital Stock 

Amount as Prescribed in Charter $1,500,000.00 

Subscribed by North Carolina 250,000.00 

Subscribed by Currituck County 44,000.00 

Subscribed by Individuals 515,400.00 

Balance Undisposed of $ 690,600.00 


From State of North Carolina $ 250,000.00 

From Currituck County 44,000.00 

From Individuals 327,207.00 

For Interest 7,331.00 

Included in Expenditures, but not paid 2,074.20 

$ 630,612.20 


For Construction, Land Damages, Taxes 

Property, etc $ 599,531.56 

Balance of Receipts $ 31,080.64 212 

no Buabee'8 Report, pp. 13-14. 

211 Third Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company, p. 6. 

212 Third Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company, p. 5. 

52 The North Carolina Historical Review 

At the same time that the question of an additional expenditure 
of $150,000 by the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal Company 
was before the General Assembly of North Carolina, a joint com- 
mittee from that body made a trip on the unfinished canal, dur- 
ing the 1858-1859 legislature, and made a report of their findings. 
From the lock at the Elizabeth River the canal extended, at a 
width of thirty feet to sixty feet and a depth of six to eight feet, 
through a swamp to the North River, where the Virginia canal 
terminated. Here the canal was from 110 to 120 feet wide and 
the river had an average width of 300 feet and a depth of ten 
feet for a distance of fifteen miles to Pungo Bridge. Below that 
point the river widened until, at the entrance of Currituck Sound, 
it was two miles wide and had a depth of no less than six feet at 
any place. Currituck Sound varied in depth from six to ten feet 
for a distance of ten miles from the North Landing River to the 
North Carolina canal. 213 

This report convinced the committee that eight foot navigation 
was practicable. The senate then passed a bill providing for a 
state subscription of $150,000 ; it failed, however, to reach a third 
reading in the lower house. 214 

The first vessel passed through the canal on January 9, 1859, 215 
although the canal was not yet completed on the scale required by 
its charter. After failing to gain financial support from North 
Carolina, the board of directors employed other means of raising 
revenue. They authorized an issue, to the sum of $400,000, of 
seven-per-cent bonds which bore interest semi-annually; the 
interest and principal were payable in the city of New York, the 
term was seven years, and the issue was to be secured by a 
mortgage or deed of trust upon all canal, estate, rights, fran- 
chises, and property of the company. 216 

The president and treasurer then executed a deed on July 1, 
1859, to William T. Hooker and Parker Handy of New York, and 
R. H. Chamberlaine of Norfolk, conveying the property in trust 
as security for the payment of the total amount of $400,000, or 
such amounts as should be issued. 217 Two hundred thousand dol- 
lars worth of bonds were offered for sale, secured by the $400,000 

213 Document No. 66, North Carolina General Assembly, Session 1858-1859, Report of the 
Joint Select Committee on the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, pp. 1-3. 

214 Busbee's Report, p. 15. 

215 Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Port, p. 203. 

216 Busbee's Report, p. 16. 

217 Busbee's Report, p. 16. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 53 

mortgage. A total of $136,000 was disposed of at eighty cents on 
the dollar, and $40,000 of this sum was applied to a new contract 
for deepening the canal. 218 

By October 1, 1859, $909,400 had been subscribed to the cap- 
ital stock, with $101,300 of this amount still unpaid — making an 
aggregate receipt from all sources of $824,829. The latter amount 
exceeded but little the first contract made with Courtright, Bar- 
ton, and Company, whereas the total cost of the project was 
expected to equal $1,150,000. It was this lack of subscription 
and the failure to secure more funds from the state of North 
Carolina that necessitated the issuance of the seven-per-cent 
mortgage coupon bonds. 219 

Fears were expressed, about this time, relative to the opening 
of a channel of eight or nine feet at the mouth of North River 
and in Currituck Sound. Frequent depressions of water in the 
sound from northerly winds and continual shifting of sand made 
navigation precarious, rendering the task of keeping an open 
channel an expensive and laborious one. Tide registers erected 
by the company engineer showed that an average height of water 
in the sound was 8.45 feet and in the canal, 8.44 feet. The lowest 
reading was 7.60 feet, and water was below eight feet only six- 
teen days in an eight-month period. The soil along the banks of 
the canal seemed to resist caving or sliding, being of a soft, 
tenacious clay, dark in appearance ; It was hard to remove except 
in masses or lumps. 220 


Capital Stock 

Amount Subscribed $ 909,400.00 

Amount Paid 873,903.00 


From State of North Carolina $ 350,000.00 

From Currituck County 44,000.00 

From Individuals 484,903.00 

From Interest on State and County Bonds 10,020.00 

218 Fifth Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company (Norfolk, 1861), p. 5. 

219 Busbee's Report, pp. 15-16. 

220 Busbee's Report, pp. 20-21. 

54 The North Carolina Historical Review 

From Bills Payable 29,745.00 

From Tolls and Towing 16,644.00 

From Sale of Mortgage Bonds 111,800.00 

Total Receipts $1,047,112.00 


For Construction, Purchases, etc $1,022,493.00 

Leaving on Hand 24,619.00221 


SEPTEMBER 30, 1860 

Barrels of Cotton 6,632 

Barrels of Fish 859 

Barrels of Flour 5 

Barrels of Naval Stores 2,215 

Bushels of Corn 200,453 

Bushels of Peas 226 

Bushels of Flaxseed 419 

Bushels of Beans 1,138 

Bushels of Potatoes 6,341 

Bushels of Wheat 30,488 

Kegs of Lard 46 

Pounds of Bacon 6,950 

Feet of Lumber 356,294 

Three Foot Shingles 222,400 

Two Foot Shingles 586,475 

Twenty-two Inch Shingles 243,475 

Bunch Shingles 7,455,700 

Hogshead Staves 816,894 

Barrel Staves 24,700 

Pipe Staves 3,235 

Cubic Feet of Timber 17,004 

Railroad Ties 6,011 

Cords of Wood 953222 


SEPTEMBER 30, 1860 

Barrels of Bread 139 

Barrels of Beef, Pork 928 

221 Fifth Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company, p. 7. 

222 Fifth Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company, p. 14. 

North Carolina Canals Before 1860 55 

Barrels of Beer, Cider 44 

Barrels of Flour 2,052 

Barrels of Fish 1,287 

Barrels of Molasses 203 

Barrels of Liquors 1,588 

Barrels of Sugar 381 

Hogsheads of Molasses 96 

Bags of Coffee 278 

Boxes of Hats, Shoes 155 

Boxes of Soap, Candles 465 

Boxes of Tobacco 104^2 

Cubic Feet of Dry Goods 6,302 

Cubic Feet of Hardware 856 

Kegs of Nails 509 

Crates of Ware 40 

Casks of Lime, Cement 1,878 

Bushels of Salt 3,488 

Sacks of Salt 1,279 

Pounds of Iron 50,188 

Tons of Guano 2,000 22 3 

During the year 1859 there was a continual flow of traffic on 
the canal although, in its unfinished state, such traffic hindered 
its completion. The company purchased several towboats to meet 
the demands of the trade and to aid ships in their passage 
through the canal. An increase in the obstacles hampering the 
traffic on the Dismal Swamp Canal greatly increased the number 
of vessels using the newer waterway. By July 1860, 1,655 vessels, 
totaling 6,600 tons, had passed through the lock at the northern 
end of the canal. One of the largest vessels making this trip was 
the barge Enterprise, from Halifax County, North Carolina, 
which 224 had a capacity of 10,000 bushels of grain or 600 bales 
of cotton. 

The Civil War prevented any improvements in the canal for 
the years from 1861 to 1865, a period in which the waterway was 
under the control of the Union armies. During the war, the tugs 
Wasp, Roanoke, and Junaluska and a dispatch boat, the Calypso 
were destroyed, but with the end of hostilities the Fannie and the 
Coinjock were built to replace them. The war demonstrated the 
capacity of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal : 7,000 vessels, 

223 Fifth Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company, p. 13. 

224 Busbee's Report, pp. 17-19. 

56 The North Carolina Historical Review 

the majority of which were employed by the United States gov- 
ernment, passed through the canal. These vessels included steam 
tugs, propeller transports, side and stern wheel steamers, canal 
barges, and sailing ships. For the year 1861, 2,569 vessels passed 
through the canal; in 1862, 1,297; in 1863, 950; in 1864, 1,392; 
and in 1865, 2,617. 225 

With the close of the war canal trade continued to increase. 
In 1867-1868 over 16,000 bales of cotton passed through the 
waterway and by 1879-1880 the number had risen to 77,068. 
Thus with its steadily increasing traffic, the Albemarle and 
Chesapeake Canal played an important part in strengthening 
Norfolk's position as the chief port of northeastern North 
Carolina. 226 

Thus it was that in the early and middle periods of the 19th 
century, canal construction seemed to be the answer to eastern 
North Carolina's transportation problem. Time and experience, 
however, proved otherwise. From the beginning to the end the 
canal companies were beset with difficulties : the physical hazards 
encountered necessitated constant repairs ; construction was con- 
sistently delayed by financial insecurity; and few of the projects 
were sufficiently far-sighted to insure the completion of water- 
ways adequate to the traffic they bore. When private enterprise 
lagged or failed, the state did contribute its support, but seldom 
to the degree needed for successful operation. The Civil War 
either halted most of the work on such projects, or the canals 
themselves fell into the hands of the enemy. Finally, the develop- 
ment of steam power in railroad transportation — an event 
which the early canal builders had not foreseen — brought an 
easier means of travel and transportation with which most of 
the waterways could not well compete. 

225 Tenth Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Albemarle and Chesapeake 
Canal Company (Norfolk, 1866), pp. 3-4. 

226 Wertenbaker, Norfolk: Historic Southern Port, p. 203. 


By Richard Bardolph 

The expanding productivity of the farm comprises a critical 
chapter in the history of nineteenth-century American society. 
Fabulous increase in population in the nation as a whole out- 
stripped both the rate of population growth on the farms and 
the degree to which new lands were brought under cultivation; 
and it was only as the dwindling rural community turned its 
exertions to increasingly fruitful account that the twin processes 
of industrialization and urbanization could proceed. And if the 
progressive improvement of farming methods was a desideratum 
in the country at large, it was an imperative in the old agricul- 
tural commonwealths of the South, where the original fertility of 
soils had not been great, where generation after generation had 
robbed the land by exhaustive methods of cropping, and where a 
complex of natural, social, and economic forces had retarded the 
development of a healthy diversification. 

In the middle 'fifties the modern program of agricultural im- 
provement through systematic, scientific instruction in the 
schools, the agricultural colleges, state and federal departments 
of agriculture, experiment stations, and local farm advisers still 
lay in the future, but important contributions were being made 
by humbler agencies like agricultural societies and fairs and the 
farm press. In North Carolina the development of these institu- 
tions paralleled a smilar evolution throughout the nation, and in 
that state, as elsewhere, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that 
the agricultural periodicals were the most influential of the sev- 
eral agencies for the instruction of farmers at least until 1870. * 

1 No satisfactory account of the whole movement for agricultural reform in pre-Civil War 
America has yet appeared, but special phases are treated in Alfred Charles True, A History 
of Agricultural Education in the United States, 1785-1925 (United States Department of 
Agriculture, Miscellaneous Publication, no. 36, Washington, 1929); Albert Lowther Demaree, 
The American Agricultural Press, 1819-1860 (vol. VIII in Harry J. Carman and Rexford 
Tugwell, eds., Columbia University Studies in the History of American Agriculture, New 
York, 1941); Wayne Caldwell Neely, The Agricultural Fair (vol. II in Columbia University 
Studies in the History of American Agriculture, New York, 1935 ) ; Lewis Cecil Gray, History 
of Agriculture in the Southern United States to 1860 (2 vols., Washington, 1933); Percy 
Wells Bidwell and John I. Falconer, History of Agriculture in the Northern United States, 
1620-1860 (Washington, 1925); Avery Odelle Craven, Soil Exhaustion as a Factor in the 
Agricultural History of Virginia and Maryland, 1606-1860 (vol. XIII, no. 1, in Illinois 
Studies in the Social Sciences, Urbana, 1926); Richard Bardolph "Agricultural Literature 
and the Early Illinois Farmer," Illinois Studies in the Social Sciences, XXIX, nos. 1-2. 


58 The North Carolina Historical Review 

A recent bibliography of the farm journals of the United States 
and Canada during the 100 years preceding 1910 indicates that 
about 500 of them were started in this country before 1870 and 
that of this number 13 were North Carolina publications. 2 These 
figures are misleading, however, because the bibliography in- 
cludes a large number of items that cannot seriously be consid- 
ered as genuine agricultural periodicals. After one strikes these 
from the compilation, the total is substantially reduced, and there 
is reason to believe that the figure for North Carolina would 
shrink to less than ten. 3 

The development of the agricultural press of North Carolina 
seems to have begun with the establishment by John Sherwood 
of the semi-monthly sixteen-page Farmer's Advocate and Mis- 
cellaneous Reporter (Jamestown, N. C, 1838-1843), though an 
unsuccessful effort to found a rural journal to be called the 
Farmers' Magazine was made at Raleigh in 1820. 4 The second 
successful attempt at farm journalism in the state was appar- 
ently the monthly North Carolina Farmer, published by Thomas 
J. Lemay at Raleigh for five years, from August, 1845, to July, 
1850, and so far as is known no other genuine agricultural 
periodicals were established in that decade. The remainder of 
the North Carolina farm papers were started in the 'fifties and 
'sixties, most of them surviving for less than three years. The 
brevity of the individual journal's life was typical of the ex- 
perience throughout the nation. 5 The circulation of the several 

2 Stephen Conrad Stuntz, List of the Agricultural Periodicals of the United States and 
Canada Published During the Century July 1810 to July 1910, United States Department of 
Agriculture, Miscellaneous Publication, no. 398 (Washington, 1941). The North Carolina titles 
listed by Stuntz for the period to 1861 follow: Farmer' 3 Reporter (Salem 1835); Farmer's 
Advocate and Miscellaneous Reporter (Jamestown, 1838-1843); North Carolina Farmer 
(Raleigh, 1845-1850); Hornet's Nest (Charlotte, 1849); Farmer's Journal (Bath and Raleigh, 
1852-1855); New Era (Goldsboro, 1852); Carolina Cultivator (Raleigh, 1855-1857); Arator 
(Raleigh, 1855-1857); North Carolina Planter (Raleigh, 1858-1861); Edgecombe Farm 
Journal (Tarboro, 1860). It appears from the Stuntz list that after the North Carolina 
Planter expired at the outbreak of the war, no other farm journals were published in the 
state until a full year after Appomattox. 

3 The Hornet's Nest (Charlotte, 1849-1851) for example, is included in the bibliography, 
but the journal was in fact a weekly newspaper of Whig persuasion. Like so many other 
news journals throughout the country at the time, the Hornet's Nest declared in its sub-title 
that it was "A Family Paper, devoted to Politics, Literature, Agriculture, Manufactures 
and News." It even went so far as to promise in its opening number that "a corner each 
week will be especially devoted to [the agricultural] interest; the best agricultural papers 
selected from; and no pains spared to render this feature interesting to the farming and 
planting community." This pledge was not redeemed. See Hornet's Nest, July 7, 1849, p. 3; 
and succeeding issues. A partial file is in the library of the University of North Carolina, 
Chapel Hill. The author's investigation of the farm journals published in Illinois before 1870 
suggests the need for caution in using the Stuntz bibliography. The list mentions forty such 
items, but a careful examination of files of the publications mentioned makes it appear that 
only eighteen of them were bona fide rural journals. See Bardolph, Agricultural Literature, 
chap. IV. , 

4 Stuntz, List of Agricultural Periodicals, pp. 55, 59. 

5 Demaree, American Agricultural Press, pp. 17-18. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 59 

North Carolina journals (again, typical of the fate of farm 
papers all over America, 6 was not large, and a considerable num- 
ber of the readers of such works preferred to subscribe for some 
of the more distinguished periodicals published outside the state, 
like the American Farmer (Baltimore), the Farmers' Register 
(Shellbanks and Petersburg, Va.), the Southern Agriculturist 
(Charleston, S. G.), the Southern Planter (Richmond), and the 
Southern Cultivator (Augusta, Ga.). Some even chose to take 
one of the better northern or western publications. Though the 
North Carolina farm editors, enthusiastic improvers that they 
were, put no obstacles in the way of out-of-state publications, 
they stressed the need for local papers that printed contributions 
from neighboring husbandmen, to accord with local problems 
and circumstances. 7 

If the subscription lists of the North Carolina journals were 
not long (the Arator, published at Raleigh, 1855-1857), for 
example, never enjoyed more than 2,000 paying subscribers 8 ), 
it is not to be assumed that the extent of their circulation was 
the measure of their influence. Imitation is forever genuflecting 
at the altar of success. If a particular North Carolina agricul- 
turist found profit in following a specific program recommended 
by, say, the North Carolina Farmer, his neighbor, however he 
might sneer at "book farming, ,, would be tempted to profit by 
his example. 9 It should perhaps be noted that the per capita cir- 
culation of farm journals in the slave states was sharply less 

6 Bardolph, Agricultural Literature, chap. IV; Valley Farmer, X (May, 1858), 137. 

7 See, for instance, Arator, I (April, 1855, January, 1856), 1, 2, 29; II (September, 1856, 
February, 1857), 570, 683. A farmer in Harnett County wrote the editor of the Arator that 
"whilst there are certain great leading principles in the science of agriculture — such as the 
necessity of collecting and applying manure, hill-side ditching, thorough draining, close culti- 
vation. &c — which apply every where; the various details in the modes of carrying them out 
must depend upon the nature of the soil and climate, the labor to be applied, the crops pro- 
duced, and other local circumstances. Home papers alone can be relied upon for much im- 
portant information needed on these branches of agriculture. [I hope] that others may be 
induced to furnish for your paper the results of their experience. . . ." Arator, II (Feb- 
ruary, 1857), 683. 

The editor himself declared that numerous out-of-state journals were read by North Caro- 
lina farmers, "but none of them fully meet their wants." Furthermore, said he, "we have 
peculiar institutions, peculiar soil and climate, peculiar staple products, and must therefore 
have a peculiar system of agriculture, wrought out from the lights of experience and science, 
gathered from home as well as abroad — aye, in many important particulars, we must have 
an agricultural code and practice of our own; and it must be formed by attrition and con- 
sultation with, and help from one another. ... A judiciously conducted paper, devoted to 
these ends, regularly appearing, cannot fail to be a useful auxiliary in their comsummation." 
Arator, I (April, 1855), 1-2. For similar arguments by agricultural improvers in a western 
state, see Union Agriculturist and Western Prairie Farmer, I (January, April, May, 1841), 
5, 28, 34-35; II (January, 1842), 5; Prairie Farmer, IV (December, 1844), 288; V (January, 
1845), 1; Emery's Journal of Agriculture, I (January 7, 1858), 19; Illinois State Agricultural 
Society, Transactions, I (1853-1854), 204 ff. 

8 Arator, II (March, 1857), 717; III (April, August, 1857), 733, 799. 

9 See Demaree, American Agricultural Press, passim, and Bardolph, Agricultural Literature, 
preface and passim. 

60 The North Carolina Historical Review 

than that in the free states, a circumstances that stemmed in 
part, of course, from the large proportion of Negroes in the 
South and the prevalence of illiteracy among the poor whites 
who worked on non-commercial farms. The Farmer and Planter 
(Columbia, S. C.) estimated in 1860 that there were then 233,600 
subscriptions in the free states, and 32,250 in the slave states. 10 

The Arator may be taken as typical of the ante-bellum farm 
papers of North Carolina, and this monograph undertakes to 
sketch its history and to analyze its contents for the double pur- 
pose of suggesting the role of the agricultural press in the move- 
ment for farming progress in the state and of gleaning from its 
pages some picture of the condition of North Carolina's agricul- 
ture on the eve of the Civil War. The Arator was selected for the 
study partly because a complete file is available and partly be- 
cause its predecessors were more clearly in an experimental 
stage. It may also be remarked that it was in the fifties that the 
movement for agricultural advance was at last attracting serious 
attention in North Carolina. 

When Thomas J. Lemay issued the first number of the Arator 
in April, 1855, he pointed out that the venture was not a novel one 
to him, but a 

tried and familiar sphere of action, with the grateful exception of 
having divested ourself of every thing connected with party politics. 
. . . and we cannot but rejoice that, instead of fighting in a heated 
and dusty arena, we shall luxuriate in blooming fields, and balmy air, 
and quiet cottages, and draw animation from humming shops and 
bustling markets. 11 

Twenty years earlier Lemay had become sole owner of the 
Raleigh Star, after he had already been in the newspaper busi- 
ness since 1827. The Star had been founded in 1808 as a "paper 
devoted to the Agricultural Interests." In its early years it was 
neutral in politics, carried little advertising, ran several depart- 
ments, including one devoted to agriculture, and closely re- 
sembled the "family newspaper" which was later to become so 
common in the America of the forties and fifties. When Lemay 
bought the paper in 1835 it had become mildly political, and the 

10 Cited in Gray, History of Agriculture in the Southern States, II, 788. 

11 Arator, I (April, 1855), 1. The combined resources of the New York Public Library 
and the Library of the University of North Carolina provide a complete file of the Arator. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 61 

Whig party line became more pronounced during the eighteen 
years while it was under his control. 12 

Since his first connection with the press he had been pushing 
the cause of agricultural advancement, and, to use his own 
words, 13 

in 1845, so deeply convinced were we of the importance of arousing our 
farmers to action, that we commenced the publication, without previous 
subscription, of a monthly periodical devoted to their interests, called 
the "North Carolina Farmer," which we continued, at a sacrifice for 
five years, amidst the multiplied and arduous labors demanded by the 
chief business from which was derived our support; (nor did we 
abandon it until forced to do so by declining health;) and in which 
we urged, from first to last, all the important measures [of farm legis- 
lation] which we have since had the pleasure to see adopted. 

While playing the double role of publisher of the Star and of 
the North Carolina Farmer, Lemay's papers became "the first in 
the State to urge the establishment of [the North Carolina State 
Agricultural Society], and we doubt not contributed in a good 
degree towards preparing the public mind for the important 
movement. ,, 14 He opened the campaign in November, 1848, num- 
ber of the North Carolina Farmer, "This," he later declared, "we 
continued to urge, from year to year, until 1852, when our sug- 
gestion was adopted, and a meeting was held in this city . . . and 
the now existing Society was organized." 15 Among the other 
voluntary and legislative aids for the farming class for which, as 
editor of the North Carolina Farmer, he contended, and which he 
later "had the pleasure to see adopted," were the establishment 
of numerous county agricultural societies, the creation of a Ge- 
ological Survey for North Carolina, legislative grants-in-aid for 
the state and county societies, and the development of railways 
in the state. 

12 Guion Griffis Johnson, Ante-Bellum North Carolina (Chapel Hill, 1937), 766-767; Arator, 
I (April, 1855), 29. It is interesting to note that Lemay's nine-year-old son, Leonidas, started 
a short-lived paper — it ran for a few years — called the Raleigh Microcosm, devoted to "the 
flowers of Literature, Science, Commerce, and Agriculture." Johnson, Ante-Bellum North 
Carolina, p. 796. So stout was the elder Lemay's adherence to Whiggism that he earned for 
himself in the forties the sobriquet of "The Little Blower of the Little Whig Trumpet." 
Edgar Estes Folk, "W. W. Holden and the North Carolina Standard, 1843-1848," North 
Carolina Historical Review, XIX (January, 1942), 22-47. See p. 29. 

13 Arator, I (April, 1855), 29. 

14 Arator, I (April, 1855), 8. 

15 Arator, I (April, 1855), 29. 

62 The North Carolina Historical Review 

The North Carolina Farmer was discontinued in 1850 when 
failing health (not to mention a failing subscription list 16 ) in- 
duced Lemay to lighten his publishing responsibilities, and three 
years later he sold the Star to William C. Doub. In another two 
years he rejoined the editorial fraternity, this time as founder, 
owner, and editor of the Arator, In the opening issue he declared 
that he had been "solicited and urged" to undertake its pub- 

by a number of the most intelligent and influential members of the 
State Agricultural Society and other friends of the cause, with the 
assurance of their hearty and active support of the work. Relying upon 
the fulfillment of their pledges and upon the liberality of the public, we 
now lay our hands to the plough, with the determination never to "look 

No other farm periodical, he said, was being issued in North 
Carolina at the time, and he promised that it would be a home 
journal devoted to the state's peculiar interests. 17 A practical 
farmer himself, and apparently the owner of an extensive farm 
near Raleigh, 18 Lemay pledged the Arator' s best endeavors to 
the fulfillment of its mission through the four-fold program of 
supporting the state and county agricultural societies "in their 
patriotic and laudable efforts to advance all the industrial pur- 
suits and interests of North Carolina" by 

collecting and publishing from our own most skillful and successful 
agriculturists, the best methods of cultivating, manuring, and other- 
wise improving our land, and of managing every branch of husbandry 
in our own State; . . . presenting a view, so far as it can be culled 
from the best sources, of the same things in other parts of the world ; 
[and by] stimulating our most reliable practical men to work out from 

16 Johnson, Ante-BeUum North Carolina, p. 796. 

17 Arator, I (April, 1855), 1. "We natter ourself," said the editor, "in the prosecution of 
this work, as we shall assiduously labor to impart information and pleasure, that we shall 
contribute a mite in promoting 'the common good and general welfare;' and shall receive, in 
return, satisfactory and substantial evidence of the public appreciation of our efforts; for 
our principles, objects and policy will be so interwoven with the web of every man's pros- 
perity and happiness, that all readers will be interested in its pages and serve themselves by 
contributing to its support." 

Lemay's statement that no other farm journal was being published in the state at the time 
was a surprising error. The Carolina Cultivator was established — also in Raleigh — some weeks 
before the Arator's first appearance, and expired early in 1857. 

18 Lemay speaks of his experience in raising oats in the 1853 season, and in an early number 
of the Arator, and several months later, in an advertisement in the journal's columns, he 
offers to sell "200 acres land 4 miles from Raleigh — a valuable market farm." I (September, 
1855), 183; II (February, 1857), 704. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 63 

the whole a system of practical agriculture of our own, suited to our 
own locality and condition. 1 9 

Declaring that the farmers of the state must take counsel to- 
gether to devise what he called a "new practical system," he called 
upon them to make the Arator their organ for the purpose. The 
best crops and the varieties best adapted to North Carolina's agri- 
culture had yet to be determined upon, and, said he : 

we should seek to ascertain the rotations in which they should follow 
each other, with the least exhaustion of our lands; the best fertilizers 
within our reach; the best method of draining; and the most effectual 
means of preventing the washing and other deteriorations of our soils ; 
for we cannot, as a general thing, rely upon guano and other foreign 
substances, though in some instances and localities they may be, and 
have been, used with signal advantage. 20 

Outworn practices and theories were to be rooted out, the 
frontiers of agricultural knowledge were to be rolled back by bold 
experiment and wide diffusion of its results, and the whole busi- 
ness of farming was to be grounded on understanding rather 
than on ancient usage and blind imitation. And it was the press, 
said the Arator, that would prove "the cheapest, easiest, and as 
to much valuable information, the only medium through which 
these things can be accomplished." 21 

Throughout its brief life the Arator labored tirelessly to ad- 
vance these objects. Through editorials, articles selected from 
other journals, and letters from the plain farmers of the state 
which were printed in its columns, the paper boldly attacked the 
defects in the state's husbandry, contended fearlessly for re- 
forms, offered concrete proposals for their realization, and waged 

19 Arator, I (April, 1855), 1. 

20 Arator, I (April, 1855), 2. 

21 Arator, I (April, 1855), 2. A zealous improver in Tarboro echoed the same sentiments. 
"If the plan of improvement now going on in this county [Edgecombe], and so rapidly 
spreading in the adjoining counties, can be made general throughout the State, and it is 
through the influence of your valuable paper this may be effected — for I suppose nearly every 
farmer in the State will take the 'Arator,' . . . then we may expect to see the Old North 
State, no longer the by-word, the 'Rip-Van Winkle of the South,' shake off her lethargy, and 
be, as she is well able to be, the best farming State in the Union." Arator, I (June, 1855), 

64 The North Carolina Historical Review 

constant warfare against ignorance and apathy. 22 Readers were 
repeatedly urged to look upon agriculture as a science, and the 
journal offered materials giving systematic instruction in the 
scientific principles underlying agriculture and in the funda- 
mentals of plant and animal physiology, animal breeding, vegeta- 
tion, growth, and soil fertility. 23 The value of extensive reading 
of agricultural books and periodicals by plain farmers was fre- 
quently emphasized, and the husbandman's perverse prejudice 
against book-farming, so characteristic of the rural class through- 
out the nation, was subjected to ceaseless attack. 24 One reader, 
complaining that he had heard and read a great deal about sub- 
soil plowing almost everywhere except in North Carolina, and 
that few had tried the reform in this state, went on to mourn : 

It is mortifying to reflect upon the tardy movements of our people, who 
wrap themselves up in the mantle of ignorance, and exclude from their 
minds the rays of light which pour in from all quarters, by stupid and 
obstinate resistance to all book farming. We are thus more than a 
quarter of a century behind our haughty neighbor on the north .... 
How, then, can it be hoped that our agriculturists of the present gen- 
eration will adopt the subsoil culture? A few in North Carolina have 
tried it successfully; but it is feared an age will roll by before the 
example will be followed by many. 2 5 

Several months earlier an Arator article on crop rotation made 
the point that "the wisdom and propriety [of rotation] are 

22 For one of these editorial calls to arms, see "Farmers of North Carolina, Improve!" in 
Arator, I (January, 1856), 310. "You must first duly impress upon your minds a sense of the 
importance and dignity of your calling," the paper's readers were told. "Your vocation is 
one of which you have reason to be proud." You should "raise yourselves to a state of inde- 
pendence and commanding influence and power in the community." Second, success in farm- 
ing depends on "a thorough and correct knowledge of the true science and practice of your 
art." And since no one knows anything intuitively about farming, we need the instruction of 
others, oral and written. Agricultural books and periodicals are more reliable than casual 
hearsay information. Third, farmers must "often meet together and discuss and talk over the 
matters connected with your calling;" and finally, farmers must practice what they learn. 
"By supineness, over-cropping, and bad management, we have greatly defaced and injured 
one of the fariest and finest countries in the world, and well nigh ruined ourselves .... All, 
everywhere, must arouse from their lethargy, and enter HEART AND HAND INTO THE 
said the journal, have been moving in this direction for some time with splendid results. "Is 
it not time that the people of North Carolina, in every county and neighborhood, were mani- 
festing a decided zeal and interest in this great cause? Prompt and united action among those 
who are already alive to the matter, will soon put the masses in motion, who will, we trust, 
press nobly on until they raise our good old State to the high and proud position to which 
she is entitled among the great agricultural States of this vast Republic." 

23 As in Arator, I (April, May, November, 1855), 2, 33-34, 225-227; II (April, 1856), 411- 
415. It should be noted that much of what passed for scientific agriculture a century ago has 
lost its validity. Too frequently, over-zealous improvers fell into the error of oversimplifica- 
tion, particularly when they pinned too much faith on "soil analysis" and agricultural 
chemistry in the Liebig tradition. See Bardolph, "Agricultural Literature. . . ," p. 18, 118 ff. 

24 Examples may be found in Arator, I (April, May, 1855; January, 1856), 2, 3-5, 33-34, 

25 Arator, II (March, 1857), 705. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 65 

acknowledged by all the works of creation except two — the one 
being a species of political pap^sucker, known as the parasite 
office-holder, and the other, the inveterate enemy of agricultural 
improvement, known as the anti-book farmer/' One of these will 
be "rotated out," said the magazine, and "the other will find him- 
self out at the pocket, out at the crib, and out at the larder" 2Q 

The sources from which materials for the Arator's columns 
were drawn followed the pattern long since established by the 
agricultural periodicals of the nation. Out-of-state journals with 
which the editor exchanged were placed under heavy contribu- 
tion, agricultural items were sometimes drawn from the news- 
papers of North Carolina and other states, excerpts from the 
transactions of societies were printed, selections were taken from 
books on husbandry, the editor made some contributions of his 
own, and effective use was made of the annual addresses deliv- 
ered at state and county fairs and of premium essays written by 
farmers in competition for awards offered by societies for farm- 
ing improvement. It was from these quarters that the great 
majority of the pieces came, but only because the response to the 
editor's plea for communications from the readers themselves 
was rather less than he had hoped for. Lemay and some of his 
more progressive readers constantly reiterated the thesis that 
the true function of the agricultural periodical was to furnish a 
clearing house or pool of agricultural intelligence through which 
farmers might appropriate for themselves the accumulated ex- 
perience of the entire rural class. Every farmer who had a new 
fact to offer, who had discovered a more efficient practice, who 
had been stung by some humbug, or who had any information 
that might be of benefit to his fellow farmers was importuned to 
"write for the papers." Although, as the months went by, a con- 
siderable fraction of the columns came to be filled with excellent 
contributions from working farmers, the Arator, like so many 
of its contemporaries all over the land, never wholly succeeded 
in becoming the farmer's forum that it hoped to be. 27 A number 
of the older journals in the North and West were far more suc- 
cessful in this regard. It was, understandably, no easy matter to 
induce the ill-tutored farmer to sit down by the light of a tallow 

26 Arator, I (April, 1855), 3. 

27 On the effort to persuade farmers to write for the journal, see Arator, I (April, May, 
1855), 1, 2, 53; II (September, 1856; February, 1857), 570, 683; III (April, 1857), 733. 

66 The North Carolina Historical Review 

candle after a long day in the fields, to turn author and dash off a 
piece on manuring or the value of underdraining. 

An effective device that was employed to elicit information was 
the question-and-answer method. Sometimes farmers sent in 
brief questions asking the opinion or advice of the editor, and 
the queries, together with the answers, would be published in the 
periodical. Or again, one reader would send in questions asking 
the experience of other readers, and they would be answered in 
succeeding issues by interested farmers. More rarely, the editor 
himself would seek specific information from subscribers by 
printing interrogatories of his own. 28 

Lemay's tireless campaign to extend the circulation of the 
Arator yielded disappointing results, and it was the "want of 
adequate patronage" that finally induced him to give up the 
journal in its third year. Pointing out that the paper's influence, 
its quality, and indeed its very survival depended in large degree 
upon an ample subscription list (to provide both readers and 
writers for its columns, and to furnish revenue for its improve- 
ment), he called upon the farmers of the state to form clubs of 
subscribers. A free copy was offered for every block of five sub- 
scriptions sent him, and larger prizes were held out to those who 
would supply him with longer lists. 29 In some cases he sent un- 
solicited sample copies to known friends of improvement and 
then, unless they were returned to him marked "refused," the 
addressees' names were entered on the subscription roll. He ex- 
pressed the hope that fifty or sixty patrons would be found in 
each county of the state and promised that he would then do his 
best to make the Arator the "very best agricultural paper in the 
country." 30 At first the response was encouraging. In June, 1856, 
Lemay announced that the best list had been sent in by Jesse H. 
Powell, of Edgecombe County, "one of the most intelligent and 
successful farmers of that pioneer county," who submitted forty 
paid-up subscriptions. Another list, almost as large, was trans- 

28 See, for instance, Arator, I (December, 1855), 281-282, where Lemay answers at some 
length a request from a Person County farmer concerning the value of charcoal dust as 
manure. Two full pages of questions on a wide variety of farm problems are answered by 
the editor on II (June, 1856), 474-475, and another full page providing this service appears 
on II (July, 1856), 498. See also II (January, 1857), 676-677. On page 638 of the December, 
1856, issue Lemay asks his readers: "Wanted to know — what is the best remedy against rust 
in wheat?" 

29 Arator, I (April, 1855), 25. A silver cup worth twenty-five dollars, "or the cash, if pre- 
ferred," was offered for the largest list, a fan mill worth twenty dollars for the next largest, 
and a hay cutter worth fifteen dollars for the third largest. 

30 Arator, I (May, 1855), 53. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 67 

mitted by Thomas Ruffin, "the venerable and distinguished Presi- 
dent of the State Agricultural Society." 31 Thereafter, however, 
the harvest diminished. The circulation never reached 2,000 and 
Lemay vainly published appeal after appeal for greater exertions 
among the farmers of North Carolina. 32 Perhaps the modest 
circulation of the Arator would have sufficed to keep it alive had 
it not been for the circumstance that an astonishing number of 
readers failed to pay for their papers. Although the price was 
set at only a dollar a year, in advance, and a dollar and a half on 
credit, Lemay like other agricultural editors throughout the na- 
tion suffered heavy losses from defaulting subscribers, though 
he frequently inserted little items in his papers beseeching his 
readers to make their payments. In the spring of 1856 he re- 
minded his readers that since " 'times are hard/ and . . . provis- 
ions cannot be obtained, without the Almighty Dollar, I have no 
doubt that they will send in the Cash immediately." Two months 
later he declared: "Our list, if every one pays, will barely pay 
expenses; and surely no one will be so ungenerous or unjust as 
to delay payment. On the contrary, we expect to be agreeably 
surprised, very soon, by receipt of the money and a batch of new 
subscribers from all of them." 33 

Another grave disappointment came to Lemay when a proposal 
to make the Arator the official organ of the State Agricultural 
Society failed of adoption. It was upon the urging of several of 
that association's leaders that Lemay undertook to found the 
paper early in 1855. He was assured that the organization would 
lend active support to the project, and he drew the inference, 
whether rightly or wrongly, that his publication would be of- 
ficially patronized by the society. At a meeting in January, 1855, 
some months before the Arator was launched, a resolution was 
passed authorizing the executive committee "to adopt, as the 
organ of this society any agricultural periodical published in this 
State, which they may think proper, and ... to take such steps 
towards securing subscribers, as in their judgment they see 
proper." 34 Some months later the committee reported at the 

31 Arator, I (June, 1855), 93. 

32 For some of these pleas, see Arator, I (January, 1856), 316; II (June, August, 1856), 
473, 537; III (April, 1857), 733. 

33 Arator, I (October, 1855), 219; II (April, June, 1856), 401, 473. 

34 See proceedings of the North Carolina State Agricultural Society in Arator, I (April, 
1855), 17-23. 

68 The North Carolina Historical Review 

autumn meeting that it had been unable to come to an agree- 
ment on the subject, and referred the question back to the mem- 
bership. Thereupon, after considerable debate, a motion to lay 
the question on the table carried, and there the matter rested. 
Lemay felt that he had been ill used, and it is perhaps more than 
coincidence that from that day forward he ceased to serve as the 
society's secretary. It was characteristic of his genuine zeal for 
rural advance, however, that the Arator' s stout support of the 
society and its program continued undiminished. 35 

The harassed editor found some encouragement, while the state 
society's action was still pending, in a letter from George W. 
Blacknall, chairman of the executive committee of the Granville 
County Agricultural Society, dwelling upon the importance of 
agricultural journals. "I propose [added Blacknall] subscribing 
for fifty or one hundred copies of the Arator or Cultivator to be 
given out as premiums at the coming Fair to our farmers, and 
should like to see the same course adopted by other county Fairs, 
also by the State Fair." ^ 

Though Lemay ascribed the failure of the Arator to its small 
subscription list and to the "fallaciousness of human promises 
and prospects," 37 his own ill health was another cause. Just as 
physical infirmities had obliged him to abandon the North Caro- 
lina Farmer several years earlier, so repeated sickness constantly 
interfered with his direction of the Arator. In numerous issues 
he apologized for the want of editorial matter and for long de- 
lays between issues — sometimes they fell several months behind 
— because of what he called "severe and protracted domestic 
affliction." On one occasion he cut an article short with the words : 
"We have more to say : but from weakness and exhaustion, caused 
by severe sickness, we can hold the pen no longer." 38 In his final 
number he expressed thanks to those who had counselled and 
sustained him and hoped that a farm journal would "yet spring 
up among us, more worthy of their support." Asking subscribers 

35 Arator, I (April, 1855), 17; III (August, 1857), 799. 

36 Arator, I (August, 1855), 149. The practice of awarding agricultural journals and books 
as premiums at state and county fairs was tried, with varying success, in other sections of 
the country. See, for instance, Illinois State Agricultural Society, Transactions, III (1857- 
1858), 83-88, 355; Illinois Farmer, I (February, 1856), 49b; Prairie Farmer, XVII (March 19, 
September 24, December 24, 1857), 94, 306, 413. 

37 Arator, III (April, August, 1857), 733, 799. In the closing months of the journal's life 
Lemay tried to keep it solvent by cutting down its size from the usual 32 pages to 24, and at 
last to 16. 

38 See Arator, I (September, October, 1855), 187, 219, 220; II (November, 1856; January, 
March, 1857), 625, 676, 717; III (May, June, 1857), 752, 770. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 69 

who were still in arrears to send him their remittances by mail 
"at the risk of the Editor," he promised that he would promptly 
refund the balances due those who had paid in advance. 39 

The Arator's column's were addressed primarily to the non- 
slaveholding yeoman farmer and the small slaveholding agri- 
culturist, for it was these husbandmen, after all, who stood at the 
center of antebellum North Carolina agriculture. The traditional 
picture, so dear to the heart of romancers, of a commonwealth 
made up almost wholly of great planters, Negro slaves, and "poor 
whites" simply does not fit the facts. Of the nearly 193,000 per- 
sons listed in the eighth federal census (1860) as gainfully em- 
ployed in North Carolina, 104,438 — about fifty-four per cent — 
were described as being engaged in agriculture. 40 The remainder 
were distributed among 215 other occupations. At no time in the 
fifties did as many as a third of the white families in the state 
possess slaves ; at the beginning of the decade the proportion of 
the white population connected with slave ownership stood at 
only 29.2% and ten years later the proportion was about the 
same. 41 Still more significant is the fact that of the total number 
of slaveowners in 1860 (34,658), 88% owned less than 20 slaves, 
including of course, women and children, and men too old to work, 
70% owned less than 10, nearly a half owned five or less, and 
20% owned only a single slave. 42 

The census data on the size of North Carolina's farms on the 
eve of the Civil War are also illuminating. The average size of 
the state's farms in 1860 is given as 316 acres (it had been 369 
acres in 1850) , but this figure must be interpreted cautiously. For 
one thing, the average number of improved acres per farm was 
only 102 (129% in 1850) ; and, for another, the distribution of 
acres was very uneven.There were, for example, over 8,000 farms, 
— if they may be called that — in 1860 having less than three 
acres of land; another 2,050 had from 3 to 10 acres; and over 
25,000 farms had from 20 to 50 acres. On the other extreme, 
there were 1,184 farms having from 500 to 999 acres, and 311 
farms exceeded 1,000 acres. The total number of farms in the 

39 Arator, III (June, 1857), 799. 

40 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860, Population, pp. 362-363. Of the total engaged 
in agriculture, 85,198 are listed as "farmers," 19,119 as "farm laborers," and only 121 as 

41 Bureau of the Census, A Century of Population Growth (Washington, 1909), p. 138; 
Johnson, Ante-Bellum North Carolina, pp. 56-57. 

42 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860, Agriculture, p. 236. 

70 The North Carolina Historical Review 

state in 1860 was a little over 75,000, and of that number nearly 
55,000, or almost three fourths, had fewer than 100 acres. Nearly 
half the farms of North Carolina had less than fifty acres. 43 
While it appears from the census figures that the relatively small 
class of large land-owners (those possessing 500 acres or more) 
held substantially less than half the state's land, it is not to be 
denied that this group enjoyed a social, economic, and political 
preponderance far out of proportion to their numbers. 

The material in the Arator's columns reflected the population 
pattern. The special problems of the big planter — except, of 
course, when, as in the case of soil exhaustion and the want of 
diversification, they were the problems of smaller planters and 
farmers too — were largely ignored. Some of the correspondence 
for the journal came from great planters, 44 but even then their 
contributions were of benefit to the whole rural community be- 
cause they dealt not with the minutiae of big plantation economy 
but with the general aspects of farm improvement like manuring, 
hillside ditching, more careful tillage, or the wisdom of diversify- 
ing farm operations. Not only did the Arator address its exhorta- 
tions chiefly to the yeoman farmer and the small planter, but a 
notably small number of pieces on the culture of the state's prin- 
cipal staples, cotton and tobacco, appeared in the journal. 45 Rec- 
ognizing the greater need for instruction in the raising of other 
products, the editor published a far larger number of essays, 
articles, and letters on grains, grasses, root crops, fruits, live- 
stock, and soil-building legumes. It was the rank and file of 
farmers that the Arator called upon to improve their practice, to 
stop the butchery of the state's soils, to make concerted demands 
for legislation to alleviate their lot, to diversify their production, 

43 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860, Agriculture, pp. 210, 222, 235-236; Eighth 
Census of the United States, 1860, Population, pp. 657-680; Johnson, Ante-Bellum North 
Carolina, pp. 53-59. 

44 Johns S. Dancy of Edgecombe County, co-owner of "Panola," generally considered the 
finest plantation in North Carolina in the fifties, wrote occasional pieces for the Arator, 
as did a few other large planters in the state. "Panola" comprised nearly 1,000 acres, used 
34 blacks (whose heaviest labor was the hauling of some 44,000 wagon loads of manure to 
the fields in a year), and raised great quantities of grain, sweet potatoes, forage crops, and 
hogs, in addition to the staple cotton. See, for instance, Arator, I ( April, July, August, 1855 ) , 
14-15, 112, 138. Dancy was one of the leaders in the cause of agricultural improvement in 
Edgecombe County and the state at large. Edgecombe, it may be noted, was in the forefront 
of the crusade for advancing the state's husbandry. 

45 For examples of these infrequent Arator selections on cotton and tobacco, see "Culture 
of Cotton— Selection of Seed," Arator, I (March 1856), 374-375; "Cotton Planting," II (July, 
1856), 494; "The Culture of Short Staple Cotton," II (August, 1856), 521-523; "On the 
Cultivation of Tobacco," I (February, 1856), 335-837; "Raising the Tobacco Plant," II (May, 
1856), 439-440; "Tobacco; Its Culture and Management. Read before and published by order 
of the Liberty Neck Agricultural Club of Amelia County [Virginia]," II (November, 1856), 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 71 

to enlist in the campaign to make North Carolina agriculturally 
and industrially independent of her sister states, to make com- 
mon cause to improve social life on the farm, and to associate 
themselves with societies designed to promote the farmers' in- 
terest. That some of the specific practices enjoined upon the 
farmers by the journal proved, in the light of experience and 
scientific discoveries that still lay in the future, to be misguided 
or based on faulty premises is not nearly so important as the fact 
that the Arator, like its fellow farm journals all over the land, 
was challenging its readers to think about their problems and to 
experiment for their solution. Agricultural science, in any gen- 
uine sense, was still very much in its infancy in the fifties, but 
the spirit of improvement, the willingness to break with estab- 
lished practice, and the growing awareness that farming must 
and could be improved were the elements from which the later 
progress was compounded. 

No subject was more extensively discussed in the pre-Civil 
War farm periodicals of the South than that of re-building the 
section's exhausted soils, and to this rule the Arator was no ex- 
ception. When, in an early issue of the publication, an Edge- 
combe County farmer outlined his practical plan for soil restora- 
tion, the editor commented : 

our old worn out lands need only to be replenished with the materials 
abounding on their premises, to be converted from dreary and sterile 
wastes into cheerful and fruitful fields and farms on every side. ... It 
will insure increased crops more than paying for the trouble and ex- 
pense of improving — giving abundance for consumption on the farm, 
leaving a handsome surplus for market — and enhancing the money 


[It will solve] a problem of more vital importance to the people of 
North-Carolina than the philosopher's stone, . . . 46 

The famous Thomas Ruffin warned that though the state's 
natural endowments were "good enough — too good, I am tempted 
to say, for sinful man," the patrimony was being swiftly dis- 
sipated. 47 Another jeremiad, excerpted from the transactions of 
the Agricultural Association of the Slaveholding States, declared : 

46 Arator, I (June, 1855), 79-80, 83. 

47 Arator, I (November, 1855), 244-252. 

72 The North Carolina Historical Review 

The Chronicles of the first half of the 19th century will present no great 
department of human industry subject to greater reproach than that 
of Southern Agriculture. The vicious system has grown out of a seem- 
ingly unlimited extent of virgin soils, which nevertheless have been 
rapidly subdued and exhausted. Such a temptation may furnish some 
apology, but little justification, to the intelligent agriculturist, access- 
ible as he is, to the precepts and examples of better systems of hus- 
bandry, and urged, as he is, both by interest and duty, to adopt them. 48 

The principal means urged upon the state's cultivators for 
the restoration and preservation of soil fertility were the applica- 
tion of natural and commercial manures, the employment of 
thorough drainage systems, improved plowing methods, scientific 
rotation plans, and the culture of grasses, clover, and peas. In 
the large number of articles, editorials, and letters appearing in 
the Arator on the subject of manuring there was little agreement 
as to the particular manures, natural and artificial, best suited to 
North Carolina's crops, but every issue of the journal preached 
the doctrine that manuring of one kind or another was the sine 
qua non of the state's agricultural salvation. 

It was in the late 'forties and the 'fifties that the guano mania 
swept the cotton states with such force that the limited importa- 
tions from Peru rarely met the demand. The Arator, like other 
Southern farm periodicals, printed pieces admitting the efficacy 
of that fertilizer but seriously questioned the profitableness of 
using a product whose price had, thanks to the Peruvian gov- 
ernment's monopoly, become burdensome. Some farmers ex- 
pressed the belief that it could be used profitably on tobacco, but 
with guano at $60 a ton and wheat at $1.25 a bushel its use on 
that crop would turn profit into loss. Items in the Arator gen- 
erally took the view that guano was a satisfactory soil-restorer if 
it could be obtained on "living terms." The paper denounced the 
Peruvian monopoly and consignment system and supported the 

4« Isaac Croom, "The Clovers and Grasses of the South," reprinted in Arator, I (September, 
1855), 167. 

An account of soil exhaustion and restoration in two Southern states is brilliantly set forth 
in Craven, Soil Exhaustion . . . of Virginia and Maryland, 1606-1860. Professor Craven points 
out that "the destructive practices of the Old South were, in fact, in the beginning merely 
the normal product of frontier conditions. The dependence upon a single crop produced by 
whatever methods gave largest immediate returns regardless of the waste entailed; the thrust- 
ing of the burdens of abnormal production upon land because it was more plentiful than either 
capital or labor; the placing of an exaggerated value upon the crop which first furnished the 
surplus by which exchange with the outside world was established — all these were typical 
practices which have characterized all frontiers. 

"And practices begun by the frontier were continued under the influence of markets and 
government, and the pressure which they added made the continuance of early practices 
almost compulsory." See p. 163. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 73 

vain efforts that the United States government was making, at 
the instance of agricultural leaders of the nation, to induce the 
government of Peru to make the product available on less rigor- 
ous terms. 49 

Commercially prepared chemical fertilizers began to appear 
after Liebig's important discoveries of the value of ' 'mineral 
manures," but the craze in the 'forties and 'fifties for soil analysis 
and "agricultural chemistry'' shattered many naive hopes before 
it had spent itself. The business had been quack-ridden by a 
number of charlatans and pseudo-scientists who led farmers to 
expect too much, and it was only after the Civil War that south- 
ern farmers began to use artificial manures on a really large 
scale. 50 The Arator's attitude toward the so-called agricultural 
chemistry and commercial fertilizers was cautious, and writers 
for the journal sometimes expressed strong disapproval of any 
disposition to buy fertilizers from outside the state, particularly 
guano from Peru and the " Villainous compounds' which are 
vended from the Humbugeries of the chemical mountebanks of 
the North." ^ 

Most of the Arator articles and letters on the application of 
soil restorers counselled North Carolina farmers to use "home 
products," and a most astonishing variety of substances was 
recommended. Chief among them were barnyard and stable 
manures, which, the journal lamented, were usually wasted by 
the farmers of the South. Green crops, plowed under, were often 
urged, as well as leaf mould, composts of many sorts, seaweed, 
ashes, bone dust, fish marl, peas, tan bark, grass, mud, suds, 
garbage, and literally scores of others. Detailed instructions for 
their collection, storing, preparation, and application were given 
at great length. Farmers were constantly reminded that the 
means for enriching their lands lay immediately about them and 

49 Arator, III (August, 1857), 789-792; North Carolina State Agricultural Society, Transac- 
tions (Raleigh, 1857), p. 7. Johns S. Dancy supplemented the prodigious quantities of stable 
manures and composts in his fields with guano, mixing in about 200 pounds of the Peruvian 
product with every acre-heap (over 100 wagon loads) of manure and compost. H. K. Burgwyn, 
owner of an extensive grain farm near Halifax, reported in 1856 that he had found the use 
of guano profitable in the previous year, but that, tempted by the high price of grain, he had 
sought to repeat his success this year only to find that wheat prices were declining and that 
he had made "a contribution of $1,200 to the support of the Peruvian Government." Arator, 
II (September, 1856), 559. See also II (June, July, August, 1856), 472, 508, 531-532, 538; III 
(August, 1857), 793-794. 

50 Harry Bates Brown, Cotton (New York, 1927), p. 191. 

51 Arator, I (April, October, November, 1855; April, 1856), 9-10. 203, 205-207, 225-227, 382; 
II (July, November, 1856), 508, 629. 

74 The North Carolina Historical Review 

that they had only to rouse themselves from their lethargy. 52 
The state's plowmen were slow to take up manuring, however, 
for two decades after the Arator's agitation only a third of North 
Carolina's cultivated acres were being fertilized. 53 

A great deal of space was given to disquisitions on the im- 
portance of rotation if the soils of North Carolina were to be 
preserved, and specific rotation systems, usually embodying four- 
or five-field sequences, were described. The plans were, of course, 
capable of infinite variation and the many suggested rotations 
showed considerable diversity, but much stress was laid upon the 
cultivation of grasses, clovers, and peas as critical elements of a 
rotation system. The paper protested that rotation and the use 
of fallow crops were shockingly neglected by the North Carolina 
husbandmen. One farmer wrote that "our farmers and planters, 
generally, have yet to learn their alphabet in this method of 
cultivation." 54 

The widespread belief that grasses and clover could not pros- 
per in the South was vigorously assailed in the Arator, and their 
importance both as soil restorers and as a basis for a much- 
needed expansion of livestock production was frequently ham- 
mered home. The pea fallow was particularly championed as an 
excellent preparation for grain crops, and Lemay expressed the 
view that "peas sowed broadcast, and the vines suffered to rot on 
the land, will make a poor soil produce double as much cotton as 
it would if not thus treated." 55 

52 Said one writer, "These, in many places, are abundant; and it only requires system and 
a determined will to bring them out. They may be found in the kitchen, the privy, the horse 
stable, the cowpen, the hog stye, the hen house, the woods, the marsh, the fence corner, the 
field, the sea shore, creek and river bank, and in many rich beds in the earth; as well as in 
the green crops, which may be turned into the earth; consisting of suds, slops, urine, animal 
manures, woods mould and trash, leaves, straw, weeds, stalks, mud, muck, scrapings of various 
deposits, ditch banks, seaweed, ashes, lime, marl, cow-pea, &c," Arator, II (November, 1856), 

53 Fred A. Shannon, The Farmer's Last Frontier (New York, 1945), p. 115. 

54 Arator, III (May, 1857), 743-744. See also I (May, 1855), 56; II (April, 1856), 393-395; 
III (May, July, 1857), 753, 792-793. 

55 For some of the many statements extolling the virtues of a number of varieties of peas 
both as soil builders and forage crops, see I (May, November, 1855), 486-488, 636-637, 650- 
651, 683-684; III (May, August, 1857), 756, 794-795. See also North Carolina Agricultural 
Society, Transactions, 1857, pp. 7, 28-29. 

One article declaring that the pea fallow ("we mean of course, the Indian, or field, or cow 
pea, as it is variously called") was the very best preparation for the wheat crop, went on to 
say, "we wish it understood that while the pea vine is peculiarly valuable to the poor land 
farmer, growing where no other plant would be worth the labor and cost, and greatly bene- 
fitted by the small application of a bushel of plaster per acre yet it is not a mere make shift 
for poor land, but entitled to a very high stand in our list of fertilizers." Arator, II (July, 
1856), 487. A Wake County farmer asserted that "by a proper alternation of crops, and the 
use of pea fallow always for wheat, the land will keep up, and, you may depend upon it, it 
will pay. By the addition, occasionally, of wood ashes and a dose from the compost heaps, the 
land may be brought to surpass its original fertility. That, too, will pay. I have tried it." 
Arator, II (February, 1857), 683-684. On grasses and clovers see Arator, I (September, Oc- 
tober, 1855; January, March, 1856), 167-173, 175, 184-186, 211, 213-214, 317-318, 359; II (April, 
August, 1856; February, May, 1857), 404-406, 540, 701, 742-743. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 75 

Improved plowing methods and drainage systems were cease- 
lessly preached as means to greater utilization of soil potential- 
ities and the prevention of exhaustion and washing of top soils. 
Farm journals, agricultural societies, and individual improvers 
all over the country for a half century before the Civil War, and 
for many years beyond, emphasized — perhaps overemphasized 
— the value of deep plowing as well as the stirring of the subsoil 
with plows specially constructed for that purpose. The Arator 
added its voice to the universal chorus, and many of its con- 
tributors heartily endorsed the reforms, though the editor him- 
self showed a wise restraint when he cautioned against a too 
sanguine reliance upon these practices as a panacea for the farm- 
er's ills. Friends of the system of deep tillage and subsoil plowing 
alleged that it has the effect of lengthening the growing season 
by protecting growing crops against weather extremes, 

permits a freer access of air to the soil . . . allows the freer passage 
of the small rootlets . . . permits of an easy passage of rain water, 
which in a wet season, would collect on the surface, and stagnate . . . 
[and] in time of drouth it affords a passage upwards of the moisture 
from below, and thus furnishes a supply when it is most needed. 56 

There can be little doubt that North Carolina's fields had suf- 
fered from shallow scratching of the earth's surface, and the 
Arator's agitation in behalf of deep plowing and subsoiling at 
least had the merit of turning the attention of some farmers to 
the importance of more careful tillage. Whether the particular 
practices advocated by the editor and his correspondents were 
the proper remedy is even now a matter of controversy. Opin- 
ions still vary over the value of deep plowing, and, indeed of 
plowing at all. 57 

More thorough drainage was strongly commended both as 
means to increasing the productivity of the soil by better distri- 
bution of moisture and to checking the washing away of top soil. 
Numerous systems of draining were set forth in detail, but most 
of the emphasis was placed on hillside ditching and horizontal 

56 Arator, II (November, 1856), 614-615. For statements on deep and subsoil plowing 
methods, see Arator, I (May, June, October, 1855; January, 1856), 50-51, 79-80, 196-198, 291; 
II (July, August, October, 1856; February, March, May, 1857), 505, 515-516, 585, 682-683, 
705-707, 741-742. 

57 See Charles E. Kellogg, The Soils that Support Us (New York, 1941), 223, and Edward 
H. Faulkner, Plowman's Folly (Norman, 1943), passim. 

76 The North Carolina Historical Review 

(or hillside) plowing, the two practices usually being recom- 
mended as the complementary phases of a single draining plan. 
So convinced were North Carolina agricultural leaders of the 
far-reaching benefits to be derived from hillside ditching and 
horizontal plowing on hilly land that some of them regarded the 
program as "the most important discovery of the modern agri- 
cultural era," so vital to the South that her farmers should be 
forever grateful to its discoverer, according him "a place upon 
the tablet of memory next to that of the father of our country." 58 
When, in 1857, the North Carolina Agricultural Society pub- 
lished its first and only volume of transactions, nearly all of the 
space devoted to instructional material was given over to essays 
and letters on the subject. 

The system consisted essentially of constructing ditches on 
hillsides to carry off surplus moisture and then of cultivating 
the land in parallel horizontal lines, defined with the aid of a 
levelling instrument, to direct and control rain water with the 
plow. The old practice of simply plowing straight up and down 
the hills had resulted in a fearful washing of top soils, and the 
horizontal system was hailed as a conservative device of incal- 
culable worth. The technique had been employed by Thomas Jef- 
ferson's son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph, in Virginia as 
early as 1816, and Jefferson himself was a staunch advocate 
of the plan. The program had been obliged to make its way 
through torrents of ridicule, but by the time the Arator and the 
agricultural societies of North Carolina took up the crusade the 
idea was taking firm hold, and by 1860 it is reported that it was 
widely used especially in the piedmont areas extending all the 
way from Maryland to Texas. 59 

Another long-range reform to which the Arator devoted much 
space in its columns was the diversification of agricultural pro- 
duction. The journal argued that a greater resort to "mixed 
farming" instead of a heavy dependence upon cotton and tobacco 
would help to save the state's soils, would increase the farmer's 
cash income, and would help to free North Carolina from reliance 

58 North Carolina State Agricultural Society, Transactions, 1857, p. 37. 

59 Gray, History of Southern Agriculture, II, 800-801; Craven, Soil Exhaustion . . . of Vir- 
ginia and Maryland, pp. 90-91. For Jefferson's views, see his letter, reprinted in North Caro- 
lina State Agricultural Society, Transactions, 1857, p. 36. See also the articles on the subject 
in the same volume, pp. 33 ff. For statements of the case for the method in Arator, see I 
(June, November, 1855), 65-70, 244-252; II (April, October, 1856), 401-402, 582; III (April, 
1857), 730. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 77 

upon the farmers of other states for needed products. Much at- 
tention was accorded to wheat and corn, though, as a matter of 
fact, these grains were staple products of the state, and agricul- 
tural editors sometimes insisted that it was as necessary to break 
away from the tyranny of corn and wheat as it was to loosen the 
stranglehold of cotton and tobacco from the agriculture of North 
Carolina." 60 Sugar cane (particularly the species known as 
"Chinese Sugar Cane") was attracting a great deal of notice all 
over America in the middle 'fifties, and the Arator printed a 
number of pieces on that branch of husbandry, but advised cau- 
tion. 61 The culture of root crops was strongly upheld, both 
for the feeding of livestock and for the farmers' tables, and a 
more extensive production of kitchen vegetables was also advo- 
cated. Some pieces on the production of turpentine and timber 
appeared, and heavy emphasis was placed on the raising of for- 
age crops. 

Another department of husbandry to which the journal de- 
voted much of its effort was fruit culture. Said the journal : 

We sincerely believe that our agriculturists, by extending their 
orchards and increasing their attention to the cultivation of fruits, 
will increase their own comforts and prosperity as well as contribute 
to the general welfare and improvement of the State. 

Declaring that "it may be made a very profitable as well as 
agreeable business," the Arator drew attention to the successful 
orchard experience of Benjamin Hamilton of Rutherford County, 
and pointed out that if each of the 959 farmers of that county 
would devote five acres to apples they could together produce a 

60 See Farmers' Journal (Raleigh, N. C), November, 1854, 239-240. Cited in Johnson, 
Ante-Bellum North Carolina, pp. 484-485. The production of wheat and corn by the North 
Carolina farmers of the middle 'fifties was surprisingly extensive. The federal census for 1860 
gives the state's production of these crops as follows: wheat, 4,743,706 bushels; corn, 
30,078,564 bushels. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860, Agriculture, p. 109. In the 
same year the tobacco crop amounted to 32,853,250 pounds, and the aggregate of ginned cotton 
(400 pounds to the bale) was 145,514 bales. 

61 Arator, II (December, 1856), 636, 649-650. Dealers interested in the sale of seed of 
Chinese Sugar Cane and in the sale of the mills for crushing the stalks and extracting the 
juice fed the fever by advertising extensively in the farm press and country newspapers, and 
making extravagant claims for their merchandise. An Atlanta distributor of the Chinese 
Sugar Cane seed who advertised in the Arator promised that "an acre of the Stalks properly 
cultivated, will yield from 400 to 500 gallons of pure Syrup, equal to the best New Orleans. 
... It surpasses all other plants for fodder and for feeding green to cattle or hogs, on 
account of the great abundance of sugary juice which it contains; and sown in close drills, 
will yield from thirty to fifty thousand pounds of superior fodder to the acre. ... It is so 
certain and prolific a crop that Planters may be sure of succeeding with it as a syrup plant 
anywhere south of the State of New- York." II (December, 1856), 654. 

78 The North Carolina Historical Review 

million dollars worth of that fruit for market in a single year. 62 
Most of the large number of horticultural offerings were pieces 
on the production of peaches, grapes, apples, and berries. A fur- 
ther service to the cause of horticultural advance and the im- 
provement of agriculture generally was the frequent publica- 
tion of entomological items offering instruction on the eradica- 
tion or control of insect pests injurious to field crops and fruits. 
Advice was also presented on dairying, poultry raising, and bee 
culture as avenues to profit. 

In bringing a large number of crops to the North Carolina 
farmer's consideration, the Arator, like its contemporaries in the 
several states, counselled farmers to experiment carefully, to 
make haste slowly, to beware of humbugs, and to avoid the head- 
long rushes into agricultural crazes that so frequently victimized 
credulous farmers all over America in the ante helium period. 
One correspondent wrote : 

Whatever is newly introduced, promising favorable results, let it 
be tried with prudence, fairly, and with moderate and reasonable 
expectations. Generally, in the introduction of something new, it is 
accompanied, through the agency of interested, and, often, unprin- 
cipled, speculators, with false and extravagant colorings, deceiving the 
public, and to leading to high expectations, destined to certain disap- 
pointment and mortification, sometimes causing that which is valuable 
to be abandoned as a "miserable humbug," just because it did not come 
up to the most unreasonable and silly calculations. 63 

One direction in which farmers were most urgently advised to 
diversify their efforts was that of increasing livestock produc- 
tion. Not only did the Arator upbraid the farmers of the state 
for not raising cattle, swine, sheep, and draft animals on a suffi- 
ciently extensive scale, but the methods employed in animal hus- 
bandry were also severely criticized. Many farmers provided no 
shelter for their beasts even in winter, and many who raised 
stock failed to supply adequate feed. Lemay said that he was 
constantly encountering 

62 Arator, I (November, 1855, March, 1856), 256, 370-371. The federal census for 1860 listed 
the total money value of the produce of North Carolina's orchards as being less than 
$650,000. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860, Agriculture, p. 110. 

63 Arator, II (December, 1856), 636. For a discussion of the speculative fevers that swept 
rural America during the period, see Arthur H. Cole, "Agricultural Crazes; a Neglected Chap- 
ter in American Economic History," American Economic Review, XVI (December, 1926), 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 79 

long files of lean, gaunt, half-starved cattle . . . picking up a very 
scant portion of forage in the woods, to yield an equally scanty supply 
of a watery fluid nicknamed "milk," for their owners' supper. The 
wonder is how these animals can live and move; for, really, with a 
few exceptions, it would require about six of them to be melted down 
and moulded into a reasonably decent looking cow: Compared with a 
thoroughbred, they do not seem to belong to the same species, and 
instances have been known in which high bred cows would not asso- 
ciate with them. 64 

A considerable yield of beef and dairy products was of course 
impossible as long as cattle had to subsist on such pitifully short 
commons, and the improvement of strains through selective 
breeding was unthinkable while every man's mongrel cattle ran 
together with every other's. The state of swine husbandry was 
equally low. The hogs of the time are described as poor, rangy, 
and stunted. In the words of one North Carolina farmer, 

the plan throughout the South, excepting only in those districts, where 
land is too valuable to admit of a large range, is to suffer hogs to run 
in the woods all the year, until time to take up for fattening. It is with 
many literally "root pig or die." Many do die, either of poverty, or 
disease, or the knife of the vagrant — to whom this system gives the 
means of living without honest labor. 65 

A goodly quantity of editorials, letters, and articles on the 
selection, breeding, feeding, and care of livestock were presented, 
as were also a number of veterinary items on the prevention and 
treatment of common animal ills. Pieces like "Remedy for Hog 
Cholera," "Gapes in Chickens," "Contagiousness of Glanders," 
"Pneumonia or 'Thumps' in Hogs," and directions for the cure 
of such afflictions as spavin, heaves, sprains, colic, ring bone, 
poll evil, and galls presented the homely remedies of the time, 
some of which, to be sure, would astonish the modern practi- 
tioner of the veterinary art. 

Propaganda for an expanded production of livestock was but- 
tressed with arguments that a greater number of cattle, sheep, 
hogs, and poultry about the farm lot would provide an increased 

64 Arator, I (February, 1856), 338-340. "Our farmers have yet to learn that 'shelter is 
cheaper than food,' " the journal pointed out, and that stall-fed animals put on more flesh 
than do the miserable beasts who are forced to fend for themselves in every kind of weather. 

65 Arator, I (December, 1855), 267-268. 

80 The North Carolina Historical Review 

quantity of stable and barnyard manures, and that a greater 
emphasis on stock raising would help to make the state self- 
sufficient in respect of foodstuffs. The somewhat naive stress 
upon the benefits to be derived from such independence was 
provided both by the editor and by farmers who wrote for the 
journal. Agricultural reformers in the state were especially 
anxious to replace with domestic produce the heavy importations 
of pork, bacon, beef, grains, and forage crops from the West and 
North, particularly from Kentucky and Ohio. One zealot went so 
far as to say that 

even if they cost us more, it would be good economy to buy them at 
home — thus keeping the money in the country, and saving the cost of 
transportation, which would come out of our pockets. At all events, 
never let it be said again that our farmers . . . have to send north for 
mess-pork to feed their hands, and hay, to feed their mules. 

Another wrote that the "amount of money that is annually 
sent out of the State to pay for young mules and broken down 
or vicious Kentucky horses is enormous." North Carolina, he in- 
sisted, could profitably raise all its own draft animals and a 
surplus for export. 66 

Another reform to which the Arator gave its blessing was a 
movement away from extensive and large-scale farming, and in 
the direction of smaller units more intensively cultivated. It was 
not concentration of ownership against which this campaign 
was directed, be it noted, but the habit of cultivating more land 
than could be managed with maximum efficiency. One corres- 
pondent lamented the fact that too many North Carolina agricul- 
turists "seem to be above practising the arts of husbandry. In- 
deed they are not husbandmen, or farmers, but planters; which, 
they imagine, is a more dignified title." In 1857 an article en- 
titled "Too Much Land" made the point that a few acres well 
tilled represented a better policy than did many acres thinly 
cultivated, and that the failure to act upon this principle was the 
American farmers besetting sin. 67 Some months earlier the 
journal had said, 

66 Arator, I (September, 1855), 183. See also I (July, December, 1855), 115, 267-268; II 
(April, October, 1856), 385-393, 577-580. 

67 Arator, I (December, 1855), 268; III (May, 1857), 748. See also "A Little Farm Well 
Tilled," in I (May, 1855), 35. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 81 

We desire to impress on the common-sense reasoning of every man, 
the paramount importance of having no more land in cultivation than 
can be well cultivated. By no means attempt to manage more than you 
can manage well. Be a FARMER, not a mere earth scraper, lazily 
scratching up sufficient earth to destroy the face of the soil, and throw 
seed away, or you will always have to scratch hard for a living. But 
make your farm a source of pride, and it will surely become a source 
of profit. Make the object to be not to have MANY but RICH acres. 68 

The Arator like other Southern prophets of improvement also 
deprecated the disposition of large-scale planters and farmers 
to entrust their farming operations and marketing activities to 
overseers and agents. 69 

In addition to the long-term programs to promote these larger 
objectives, the paper presented a great variety of information 
on every aspect of the farmer's work. No farm task was con- 
sidered too unimportant to warrant serious attention in the press. 
There were pieces on farm implements, on fencing, on the con- 
struction of farm buildings, on the mending of equipment, on 
the eradication of rodents — on nearly every problem, in a word, 
that the farmer encountered. A particularly useful service was 
the printing of a monthly column called "Work for June [July, 
etc.]" in which was outlined the farmer's program for the cur- 
rent month, with suggestions for the better performance of the 
tasks to be done. 70 

Southern farm periodicals devoted much less space to pieces 
on farm implements than did the western journals, for south- 
ern agriculture lent itself less readily to the machine than did 
the extensive and level grain fields of the West. Cotton and to- 
bacco culture have steadily resisted mechanization, though the 
development of a practical cotton picker in the 1940's may at 
last crown the efforts that were already going forward in the 
Arator' s time to perfect such a contrivance. In 1856 Lemay 

a new and important implement, which we have long thought might 
be invented, to aid in picking out cotton. . . . The mechanism consists 
essentially of a tube, provided with a gearing and endless revolving 

68 Arator, I (January, 1856), 301. 

69 Arator, I (July, 1855), 115; North Carolina State Agricultural Society, Transactions, 
1857, pp. 7, 16-17. 

70 See, for examples, II (June, July, August, September, 1856), 477, 505, 538, 569. 

82 The North Carolina Historical Review 

chain, the whole weighing less than six pounds. It is suspended from 
the right side of the person by a strap passing over the shoulder, 
and is kept in motion by means of a lever or crank operated by the 
hand or fingers. By presenting the tubular point to the cotton ball Isic] 
it is immediately seized by the chain and conveyed to the opposite end, 
where it is freed, by means of a stripper, and deposited in a bag 
suspended at the bottom. The bag is rapidly filled and emptied. This 
improvement enables one field hand to pick more than five to eight 
hands by the old method. 71 

Some space was devoted to plows, particularly those that facili- 
tated deep and subsoil plowing. One observer remarked that 
Carolina husbandmen used "farming tools, that belong as far 
back as the seventeenth century," a condition that was by no 
means peculiar to the South. Reapers and mowers were, perhaps 
necessarily, far rarer in the South than in the Northwest before 
the Civil War, 72 but they were beginning to attract the attention 
of farmers who cultivated grains and grasses on a sufficiently 
extensive scale to warrant the relatively high cost of investing 
in those machines. 

When, in 1856, J. W. Norwood began operating the first reaper 
to reach the Hillsboro vicinity, the Arator reported that "a num- 
ber of persons, including some of our best farmers, have seen 
the machine at work, and were all delighted with it." Norwood 
had purchased one of Hussey's reapers for $110 from an agent 
of the manufacturer at Norfolk, and his experience with it had 
led him to write a letter on the value of the implement. The 
letter, printed in both the Hillsborough Recorder and the Arator, 
stressed the labor-saving qualities of the machine and the sim- 
plicity of its operation. "So far as I am concerned," said Nor- 
wood, "the occupation of the cradle maker is gone, and the little 
pig must root or die, for his gleaning is ended." 73 Drills and 
other implements for sowing and planting were not used exten- 
sively anywhere in the United States in the fifties — perhaps 

71 Arator, II (November, 1865), 625. 

72 Arator, II (February, 1857), 687; Shannon,, Farmer's Last Frontier, chap. VI. 

73 Arator, II (August, 1856), 527-528. Such letters were eagerly sought by implement manu- 
facturers to help promote sales, and sometimes they were merely advertising "puffs" dressed 
up as genuine testimonials from local farmers. Norwood, however, was a well known leader 
in farm improvement in Orange County and in the State Agricultural Society, and there is 
no reason to doubt the sincerity of his letter. See North Carolina State Agricultural Society, 
Transactions, 1857, pp. 85-92, and Johnson, Ante-Bellum North Carolina, p. 108. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 83 

least of all in the South — and no corn-harvesting devices of any 
importance had been introduced. 74 

Besides offering instruction in the improvement of farming 
practice, the Arator devoted itself to the cause of the social and 
economic betterment of the class it served. Like its fellow farm 
journals throughout rural America, the paper was much given 
to reminding its readers that agriculture was the noblest of all 
occupations, "the great art, which we labor to elevate, and which 
lies at the foundation of all other arts and improvements," 75 
and the great superiority of life on the farm over life in the city 
was set forth both in poetry and prose. Pieces like "The Good 
Old Plough," "Life in the Country," and "Agriculture," appear- 
ing in the journal in 1855 76 were calculated to inspire rural folk 
with a sense of the dignity of their calling and to offset the 
lure of the city that so often turned the heads of young folk. 
One homily called "Country Girls" assured the rural daughters 
of the state that the "farmer's daughters are soon to be the life 
as well as the pride of the country — a glorious race of women, 
which no other land can show." The girls were told that they 
need not be discouraged if they could not be sent off to boarding 
schools, because "men of superior minds, and knowledge of the 
world would rather have for wives, women well and properly 
educated at home." Moreover, "women in the towns and cities, 
are becoming so universally unhealthy and so almost universally 
extravagant, foolish and fashionable, that men are almost in 
despair of getting wives who are not invalids, and providing 
them with what they demand, after they have married them." 
City girls might have "more highly polished manners," but 
country girls have "more truth, household knowledge and econ- 
omy, health, (and consequently beauty,) simplicity, affection, and 
freshness of thought." To conclude, the article submitted that 

A sweet country home, with roses and honeysuckles trained to climb 
over it, with good taste, intelligence and beauty within, toil enough to 
insure health, and leisure enough to court acquaintance with books and 
flowers, and the loveliness of nature; with peace, plenty and love, is 

74 Shannon, Farmer's Last Frontier, pp. 131, 136. 

75 Arator, I (April, 1855), 25. 

76 Arator, I (April, August, November, 1855), 26, 147, 284. 

84 The North Carolina Historical Review 

surely one of the Paradises which heaven has left for the attain- 
ment of man. 77 

A special service for women was the frequent printing of 
recipes, hints on household tasks, and instruction on keeping 
the family in health and nursing it in time of sickness or injury. 
Some conception of the range of these offerings can be gained 
from a few sample captions picked at random from the paper: 
"Receipt for Making Ink," "To Take Ink Stains out of Maho- 
gany," "To Cure Bacon Hams," "Cure of Itch in Half an Hour," 
"To Keep Silk," "How to Pack Firkin Butter," "Preserving 
Eggs," "To Cure Earache," "How To Do Up Shirt Bosoms," 
"To Make Tough Beef Tender," "Remedy for the Cramp," 
"Method of Detecting Cotton in Linen,," "How to Get the Real 
Flavor of Coffee," "Provision and Fruit Preparation," "'Acci- 
dents" (treatment of sprains, bruises, burns, etc.), and "Ways of 
Committing Suicide" (warnings against over-eating, sleeping in 
ill- ventilated rooms, etc.). One half -facetious selection entitled 
"Advice to Housewives" inveighed against extravagant dressing 
and excessive "socializing," and concluded : 

Neither shalt thou substitute sour looks for pickles; neither shalt 
thou allow hard feelings or unwashed dishes to accumulate; nor with- 
hold either secrets or shirt buttons from the bosom of thy husband; 
and never omit little kindnesses of any kind. 78 

Now and then the paper essayed a little moral lecture to farm 
folk on keeping out of debt, early rising, and other homely vir- 
tues. The husbandmen themselves were admonished to do all 
they could to make the farmstead as cheerful and pleasant a 
place as possible. 

Plant a tree — train a vine — foster a shrub — deposit a flower seed and 
nurture its blossom — paint the fence — "slick up the yard" — fix the 
side walk — erect a tool-house — prune the orchard — make a hen coop — 
in short, give heed to neatness and to the little things that constitute 
the grand aggregate of health and beauty. 79 

77 Arator, II (October, 1856), 589. 

78 Arator, II (May, 1856), 440. 

79 Arator, I (October, 1855), 207. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 85 

Though the Arator strongly insisted upon the state's responsi- 
bility for promoting the farmers' interest through legislation 
of one kind or another, 80 the journal held itself strictly aloof 
from political and partisan discussion. The slavery controversy 
was spreading its ominous wings over the nation in the middle 
'fifties, but the great majority of the country's farm periodicals 
kept the dispute out of their columns. Only once did the Arator 
permit itself to be drawn into the futile debate when, stung to 
fury by a sentence in a New England agricultural paper, Lemay 
lashed out in a savage attack upon the "hypocritical declarations" 
of Northern antislavery men. 81 Said he: 

The North is full of false philosophy, false theology, and false rhe- 
toric — all calculated to captivate and inflame the vulgar mind in that 
locality, and excite unfounded hatred to the South, and infamous sedi- 
tion and treason against the Union. — Unless a check is put to this state 
of things, the South will retaliate. ... To what consequences the mad 
and mischievious interference of our Northern brethren with our 
institutions, with which they have nothing to do, may lead ... is 
difficult to say; but go on they will . . . until this glorious Union 
will be split into fragments, and the best system ever devised by man 
for human government and liberty, dashed into irretrievable ruin. . . . 
In such a deplorable event, the North will be visited by a withering 
and blasting retribution, and a Southern Republic will arise and 
flourish and become master of this wide-spread country. 82 

Though North Carolina agricultural leaders were sensitive to 
northern taunts about the South's "peculiar institution," they 
manifested a wholesome attitude toward northern criticism of 
southern farming practice. In February, 1857, for example, the 

80 It was especially interested in laws to protect sheep from dogs ("but for their ravages, 
almost every agriculturist would raise sheep, and our State would become one of the largest 
sheep and wool-growing States in the Union"), legislative subsidies for agricultural societies, 
and the establishment of a State Board of Agriculture. See Arator, I (April, 1855), 25, 29-30; 
II (November, 1856), 624. 

8! A correspondent of the New England Farmer in discussing the growing interest in 
sugar cane production in New England had made the observation that the farmers of Massa- 
chusetts, by the culture of cane, would be "no longer dependent on slave labor for their 
supply of sugar and mollasses." Lemay retorted hotly that Massachusetts folk would continue 
to use the products of slave labor as long as they found it profitable to do so; that even if 
they produced the commodities themselves, the self-righteous Yankees would sell them to 
slave-owners for money made by slave labor; and that, moreover, "the white servants of the 
North are bound to servitude as severe as that of Negro slavery." Arator, II (December, 
1856), 649. 

82 Arator, II (December, 1856), 649. Speakers at the meetings and fairs of the state's agri- 
cultural societies sometimes struck out similarly at northern anti-slavery views and undertook 
to defend the slave system at great length. See, for instance, the remarks of a certain Venable 
in North Carolina State Agricultural Society, Transactions, 1857, p. 7, where the speaker 
dilates upon southern grievances against the "Free Love, Abolition north." See also the 
spirited defense of slavery by Thomas Ruffin in his address before the Society at its 1855 fair, 
reprinted in Arator, I (November, 1855), 244-252. 

86 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Arator printed excerpts from a New England Farmer article 
written by a Vermont agriculturist who had visited the South. 
Admitting that the Vermonter's judgments gave only "too true 
a picture of the lazy, improvident and unsuccessful method of 
conducting the pursuit of agriculture which prevails extensively 
in our own State," the Arator hoped that "the laggards among 
us may read and profit/ ' The Vermont farmer blamed the back- 
wardness of southern agriculture partly upon the inefficiency of 
slave labor, partly on the circumstance that many whites were 
consumers only and not producers, partly on the high prices 
southerners had to pay for manufactured goods, "but most of all 
[on] the very imperfect system of farming which prevails almost 
universally." He asserted that Carolina farmers did not make, 
save, or apply manures, that rotation was woefully neglected, 
that depleted lands were abandoned for newer lands where the 
same exhausting process was repeated, that obsolete farming 
tools were employed, and that fumbling, inefficient slaves were 
superintended by "overseers, who have no intelligent notions of 
agriculture." The Arator was quick to concede that the writer 
had "told some truths, which, though not palatable, may, never- 
theless, be wholesome. Let our Southern planters wake up and 
do better hereafter." 83 

As early as 1838, the very first issue of North Carolina's 
pioneer agricultural periodical, the Farmer's Advocate and Mis- 
cellaneous Reporter, conceded that North Carolina was "at least 
an age behind New York, in improvement." The cause, said 
editor John Sherwood, was not to be sought in the want of 
natural advantages; indeed, said he, North Carolina enjoyed 
endowments superior to those of many of the northern states 
that had outstripped her. The real cause of the trouble, he in- 
sisted, was "negligence, imprudent economy, and a ruinous sys- 
tem, or rather unsystematic course of agriculture. . . ." 84 

Not necessarily symptomatic of the growing sectional cleav- 
age, the Arator' 's lusty crusade for industrial self-sufficiency for 
North Carolina (agricultural societies and periodicals, North and 
South, East and West, had sought to promote this object in their 
particular states for the preceding half century) nevertheless 

83 Arator, II (February, 1857), 686-687. 

^Farmer's Advocate and Miscellaneous Reporter (Jamestown, N. C), I (August 1, 
1838), 5. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 87 

gave occasion for intemperate language. The editor and some 
of his correspondents kept up a steady agitation for the establish- 
ment of home industries — especially boot and shoe factories, to 
stop the annual export of two millions of dollars of North Caro- 
lina's money to Massachusetts alone. One typical admonition on 
this point insisted that the state could produce her own clothing, 
shoes, furniture, and farm implements, for it abounded in the 
needed resources. 

Indeed, nothing is wanting save a little of the spirit of enterprise — 
a little Yankee go-aheadativeness. 

When . . . are we to wake up to the advantages of our State? When 
will capital begin to seek, among us, some other investment besides 
land, negroes and bank stock? We never can become a prosperous 
people until our pursuits shall be more diversified. 85 

The same concern for advancing North Carolina's prosperity 
led agricultural leaders to deplore the heavy exodus of the state's 
farmers to the Far West and to the newer cotton lands of the 
farther South and nearer West. Fleeing the exhausted fields 
only to repeat the same practices elsewhere offered no genuine 
solution, they pointed out, and would accomplish the ruin of 
North Carolina. By 1860 nearly a million free persons born in 
the state were living in the United States, and thirty per cent of 
them were residing outside of North Carolina. 86 The Arator 
printed an interesting correspondence between "Little Farmer" 
and "Little Planter" in which the former endeavored to prove 
that rebuilding a run-down farm in North Carolina was less 
costly than a removal to Arkansas, and that it would give "as 
clear gain, by remaining in North-Carolina, good markets, good 
roads, good water, good climate, good health, good government, 
good society, good increase, and finally a burial in good old age, 
among our fathers." When Lemay himself visited Texas in 
the spring of 1856 he wrote letters back to the editorial office for 
publication in the Arator, warning North Carolina farmers not 

85 Arator, II (January, 1857), 677. "Will [North Carolina investors] do it," asked Lemay, 
"and give employment and prosperity to a large number of industrious and respectable 
mechanics; enlarge and enliven the business, the population and the improvements of the 
city; add to their own fortunes; and contribute to the independence and greatness of the 
State? Or will they still give their money to build up and increase those who already have the 
will, and acquirei from that very means the power to turn upon and rend us?" Arator, I 
(April, May, July, 1855), 8, 14, 25, 27-28, 51, 120-121; II (December, 1856; January, 1857), 
639-640, 676; North Carolina State Agricultural Society, Transactions, 1857, p. 7. 

86 Johnson, Ante-Bellum North Carolina, p. 40. 

88 The North Carolina Historical Review 

to court disaster by rushing to the West. Admitting that there 
was much to admire in Texas and Far West generally, he insisted 
that he "saw nothing — all things considered — to charm a citizen 
of the glorious Old North State, who is happily situated, from the 
land of his nativity, of his kindred and friends." 87 The exhorta- 
tions of agricultural improvers probably did little to check the 
outward flow, but it is evident that they were keenly aware 
of the problem and made a forthright effort to meet it. 

Another interest to which the Arator lent its support with 
whole-souled enthusiasm was the cause of the State Agricultural 
Society (established partly through Lemay's instrumentality in 
1852) and the dozen or more county and local societies and clubs 
in existence at the time. The Arator's pages were frequently 
crowded with their transactions, accounts of their fairs, and 
complete reprints of their premium lists. Frequent editorials 
dwelt on the value of these institutions and called upon farmers 
to support them liberally and to increase both their number and 
the scope of their activities. Said the Arator, 

If there is one with soul so dead, as not to do a good deed, speak a 
good word, or breathe a good wish for the success of this great and 
noble cause, let him continue to crouch in the chimney corner, roll in 
the ashes, and endure the consequence of his folly and madness. 88 

The extent of the Arator's influence cannot have been very 
large, but the periodical and its contemporaries of the rural press 
provided the most effective agent for the instruction of the 
farmers that had yet appeared in the state by 1861. The state 
and local agricultural societies reached few common farmers and 
did very little more than sponsor annual fairs where educational 
features were all but lost sight of in the pageantry of exhibits; 
state-supported research and formal agricultural instruction 
in the classroom were still in the future; but the farm journals 
made their monthly visits in the rural home and caught the 
ear of the progressive husbandman. The wide range of subjects 
they discussed, their practical and democratic flavor, the sense 
of class solidarity and pride which they inspired, and the high 

87 Arator, I (July, 1855), 120-121; II (May, June, July, 1856), 434, 473, 499-501; II (No- 
vember, December, 1856; February, March, 1857), 629, 633-635, 681-682, 710-712; HI (May, 
June, 1857), 750-751, 757-758. 

8S Arator, I (March, 1856), 370. 

A North Carolina Farm Journal 89 

purpose of the agricultural leaders and plain farmers who wrote 
for them were beginning to point the way to a better rural econ- 
omy when the dislocating impact of war intervened and post- 
poned further progress for years to come. 



Edited by Hugh Talmadge Lefler 

Among the Walter Clark Papers in the State Department of 
Archives and History, in Raleigh, and also in the Clark Papers 
in the possession of Mr. John W. Clark of Greensboro, there are 
many letters from the late William E. Dodd, 2 professor of his- 
tory at the University of Chicago. There are also copies of sev- 
eral letters from Clark 3 to Dodd. 

Clark thought that Dodd was the most outstanding American 
historian in the country and wrote him on numerous occasions 
about historical and constitutional questions, particularly with 
reference to the origin of judicial review. Dodd said that Clark 
was "the only Judge of a high court I know who thinks seriously 
about social and political problems," and he assured the North 
Carolina jurist that his opinions "are quoted by all the lawyers 
of liberal views I know/' He considered Clark the ablest chief 
justice of any state supreme court and time and again expressed 
the hope that he would be appointed to the Supreme Court of 
the United States. He marvelled at Clark's energy and ability 
to do so much work, and he expressed the wish that the judge 
"might be endowed with perennial youth." 

Dodd's letters are filled with comments on historical, govern- 
mental, constitutional, and educational matters. They likewise 
contain many interesting observations about the political scene 
in North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, and the nation. His com- 
ments about the Hughes-Beveridge "deal" in 1916 are significant. 

1 These and other Dodd-Clark letters will be included in Aubrey Lee Brooks and Hugh 
Talmadge Lefler, editors, Papers of Walter Clark, scheduled for publication by the University 
of North Carolina Press in 1948. The letters dated September 7, 1906, April 21, 1913, April 
19, 1919, May 9, 1919, and June 7, 1919, are in the State Department of Archives and His- 
tory, Raleigh, N. C. The letter dated May 15, 1919, is a carbon copy and is in the State 
Department of Archives and History. The other letters are in the possession of Mr. John W. 
Clark of Greensboro. 

2 William Edward Dodd was born at Clayton, North Carolina, October 21, 1869. He obtained 
the Ph.D. degree at the University of Leipzig in 1900; taught at Randolph-Macon College, 
1900-1908; and was professor of American history at the University of Chicago, 1908-1933, 
when he became ambassador to Germany, a post which he held until 1937, when Ke resumed 
his teaching at Chicago. He died February 9, 1940. 

3 Walter Clark was born at Prospect Hill, North Carolina. He attended Hillsboro Military 
Academy and graduated at the University of North Carolina in 1864. He was judge of the 
superior court, 1885-89; associate justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, 1889-1902, 
and chief justice from 1902 until his death in 1924. For further details, see Aubrey Lee 
Brooks, Walter Clark, Fighting Judge. 


William E. Dodd-Walter Clark Letters 91 

Ashland, Va. 
Sept. 7, 1906 
Dear Judge Clark: 

I have read your article in the Independent with great pleasure. 
It is not usual for a successful and able lawyer or other member of 
the student class to speak out as you do about the courts. In Europe 
I used to listen to the professors lecture on the United States when 
occasion offered. I shall not forget how one able historian of the Bis- 
marck school lauded the American Supreme Court very much as a 
good follower of Charles I or Lord Strafford must have spoken of the 
Divine Rights. Since that day I have been a closer student of Court 
decisions and the lives of judges than I should otherwise have been. 
I am engaged now in connection with the Carnegie Institution in Wash- 
ington in "raking" the country for Marshall letters in the hope of 
showing more of the life of that remarkable judge. But I think never- 
theless that the power of the Supreme Court is derived from Judge 
Marshall and that that power is akin to the Divine Right theory. I do 
not think there was a corrupt motive, but the esprit de corps which is 
so admirably provided for in our extraordinary constitution prompted 
him. You recall how Lincoln regarded the Supreme Court in 1858-60 
as working in the interest of the slave holders. It worked before in 
the interest of vested rights as its decisions since the war, except in 
a few cases, have been in the interest of the new slavery. I am not 
now reprobating African slavery in particular — there is no need to 
when we have another and more humane appearing system, and shall 
always have. There is no such thing as freedom in any country I have 
studied; but there is a moiety of it in our country. Note our chains 
binding us fast to the Negro question. I fear the South would defeat 
Govt, ownership of railways in order to save the "Jim Crow" laws ! 

But I did not intend to let my letter take this turn. I enjoyed your 
article very much and I shall get my students in Civil Govt. — I teach 
this subject, too, I venture to confess — to study your article. The view 
that our constitution is crystallized reaction from the opinions of 1776 
strikes me as especially apropos. Washington himself, in my opinion, 
regretted much of his earlier enthusiasm, honestly. How many ap- 
pointments did he not make from the class of people who opposed him 
when a general leading a forlorn hope. To instance the famous lawyer 
Rawle 4 of Philadelphia. Or was this the peculiar American method of 
conciliation such as brought ruin to the Confederate cause? 

Government among ordinary selfish men is a difficult thing, if they 
live close together. I have watched things in this state closely for five 

4 William Rawle, prominent lawyer of loyalist sympathies, whom President Washington 
appointed United States Attorney for Philadelphia. Rawle held this position from 1791 to 
1798 and prosecuted the leaders of the Whiskey insurrection. 

92 The North Carolina Historical Review 

years — it is an instructive if disheartening study. This state is no 
more self-governing to-day than the Catholic Church. Thomas F. 
Ryan 5 is our master and he lives in New York. Thomas S. Martin 6 
is his henchman and we have powerful newspapers to defend both 
with none to oppose either. Every candidate for the governor's office 
a year ago was in some way a dependent or ally of the Ryan-Martin- 
railroad group and I fear Mr. Montague 7 was influenced by a deputy 
of the New York end of the machine without his knowing it. It is inter- 
esting to watch the Virginia deputies of Ryan "do honor" to Mr. Bryan 
while the New York Times raises the black flag against him. I trust 
Mr. Bryan knows he has no friends in Virginia public life who will 
for one moment support him except so long as the people lead the way. 
I am one of the few college men who has always supported the Nebras- 
kan, but I begin to fear he will be powerless to accomplish anything 
when his subordinates will have to be chosen from our "machines." 

Pardon so long a letter, and allow me to express the hope that our 
state will put stronger men in the U. S. Senate. 

Yours very truly, 
Wm E. Dodd 

June 4, 1911 
Dear Judge Clark: 

I am glad to hear that you are a candidate for Simmons' seat in the 
Senate — that is, the Lumber trust's seat so long as he holds it. If I 
could vote in North Carolina I should try to get down there to work 
for you ; but I have to do my fighting and voting here where it seems 
to be almost impossible to put an upright man into office — certainly 
in Federal legislative offices. The "Hon. William Lorimer" 8 is my 
spokesman, legally, at least, in the Senate and Mann 9 in the house, 
both Spoilsmen and representatives of the interests. But as Jefferson 
was fond of saying, the prospects are becoming brighter; we shall 
win yet. It ought to be an easy thing for you to beat Simmons who 
has shown himself of the same stripe as Lorimer. The only trouble I 
anticipate is the division of your strength. Aycock and Kitchin, I 
think, are too timid for the times, afraid of the interests where they 
are not in one way or another tied up with them. We want an uncom- 
promising democrat in the Senate, a democrat written with a small d. 

6 Thomas Fortune Ryan, New York financier; delegate from Virginia to the Democratic 
National Convention in 1904. 

6 Thomas Staples Martin, United States Senator from Virginia, 1895-1919. 

7 Andrew Jackson Montague, governor of Virginia, 1902-1906; Democratic representative 
in Congress, 1913-1937. 

8 Republican representative in Congress, 1895-1901, 1903-1909; United States Senator, June 
18, 1909-July 14, 1912, when the Senate declared his election invalid because of "corrupt 
methods and practices" used; president of La Salle Trust and Savings Bank in Chicago. 

9 James Robert Mann, Republican representative in Congress, 1899-1923; minority leader 
of the sixty-second through the sixty-fifth Congress. 

William E. Dodd-Walter Clark Letters 93 

I am coming to doubt many of those who insist on the big D like 
Bailey, 10 Martin and their group. 

It is the hope of our family that you may win the nomination — and 
we have no axe in the case. If you and your kind of men could hold 
the upper hand in the South the Democrats would control the Federal 
government for twenty years, or until the party became honeycombed 
with the interests and then a new and more democratic successor 
would arise. This part of the country is only watching the South and 
the party now called Democratic to see if it can go over to it. But 
the South must be progressive. 

Have you heard whether my uncle Ashley Home, 11 of Clayton, is 
for you ? I hope he will not fail you, though he is interested in lumber. 

Yours sincerely, 
Wm E. Dodd 

Chicago, 111. 
March 26, 1912 
Dear Judge Clark: 

I enclose you a copy of a letter I mailed a few days ago to Prof. 
W. W. Cook 12 of this university which may interest you. If you will 
return it at your convenience I shall be obliged. There is sharp diffi- 
culty and disagreement among the historians and the law schools of 
the university, of all the leading universities of the north on this 
subject, the majority so far as I can judge being with you. Corwin 1 ^ 
of Princeton, W. F. Dodd 14 of Illinois University being two whose 
names are best known and came out boldly with the word "usurpation." 

Beard 15 of Columbia has recently written the article mentioned in 
the letter ; it is published in the Am. Pol. Science Quarterly of Columbia. 

These are strange times in politics. Here there is a bitter fight 
on between Taft men and Roosevelt men, almost as bitter as that 
between Buchanan and Douglas in 1858-60. The Taft men seem to be 
winning in the Middle West, while the LaFollette men are getting 
ready to vote for Wilson (if nominated) or form a new party. Prof. 
Merriam 16 who came so near winning the majority of Chicago last 
spring will vote, he tells me, for Wilson or Bryan in preference to 

10 Joseph Weldon Bailey of Texas, representative in Congress, 1891-1901; United States 
Senator, 1901-1912. 

11 Member of the General Assembly, 1895, 1911, and prominent Democratic leader in North 
Carolina politics for many years. 

12 Walter Wheeler Cook, professor of law at the University of Chicago, 1910-1916; Yale Law 
School, 1916-1919, 1922-1928; John Hopkins University, 1928-1933. 

13 Edward Samuel Corwin, professor of politics at Princeton University, 1910-1918; Mc- 
Cormick professor of politics since 1918. 

14 Walter F. Dodd, professor of law at the University of Illinois, 1910-1915; University of 
Chicago, 1915-1917; Yale University, 1927-1930. 

1 5 Charles Austin Beard, professor of politics at Columbia University for many years. 

16 Charles Edward Merriam, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, 

94 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Taft, though no one expects Bryan to run. If the South proves reac- 
tionary at Baltimore the Democratic party abdicates. 

Yours sincerely, 
Wm E. Dodd 

Chicago, April 21, 1913 
My dear Judge Clark: 

Some two weeks ago I took the liberty to write to President Wilson 
urging your appointment to the United States Circuit Court judgeship 
now vacant in the district in the circuit of Virginia and the Carolinas 
and received a cordial acknowledgment saying that your name was 
under consideration. 

From the moment I learned of the vacancy in February I have felt 
that your services on that bench would be invaluable to the country 
especially that part of it where the struggle of the interests to control 
legislation and the courts have been so successful. I do not, of course, 
know your own feelings, but I trust my writing may prove only one 
of a number of similar voluntary requests and reminders which are 
going to Wilson. We have made much progress in the legislative and 
administrative departments of the Federal government; but the judi- 
ciary still lags. If you would put some of your democracy into that 
branch of the government it would be a good thing. This is the reason 
and motive of my seeming impertinence. If your name should go 
before the Senate I hope you may be in a position to accept. 

Yours sincerely, 
William E. Dodd 

University of Chicago 
April 19, 1919 
My dear Judge Clark : 

Thank you for the pamphlets you were kind enough to send me. 
I read them at the breakfast table and after this morning. I always 
read promptly anything you send me. You are the only judge of a high 
court I know who thinks seriously about social and political problems. 
It is a matter of great pride to me to be your friend and to point out 
to others that North Carolina probably has the ablest chief justice of 
any state in the Union. Your opinions are quoted by all the lawyers 
of liberal views I know, men like Roscoe Pound. 17 I only wish you 
were endowed with perennial youth. 

Last September and again in March I had long talks with the Presi- 
dent and you will be glad to know, as you doubtless already know quite 

17 Dean of the Harvard Law School. 

William E. Dodd-Walter Clark Letters 95 

as well as anyone, that he is entirely of your frame of mind about 
courts, a change this from the day he wrote his book on constitutional 
government in 1908. 18 He said he would never appoint another reac- 
tionary to the courts, if he could avoid it. But he said: "It is indeed 
hard to make appointees continue what they were when appointed." 
You know this lamentable failing of poor weak man. 

Sometimes I wish to get off a week or two and stay in Raleigh just 
to get a chance to talk at leisure with you. But we are always busy 
in this world, too busy for our good or anybody's. I often wonder if 
this half -crazy industrial life can ever be made to slacken its pace. 

Yours sincerely, 
William E. Dodd 

University of Chicago 
May 9, 1919 
My dear Judge Clark: 

I enclose you copy of a letter I am sending to-day to a young woman 
friend in Raleigh who is studying Vance and his war time record with 
a view to publication of her work. I am sure she is earnest, able and 
honest; but I have indirectly discouraged her. Won't you let her talk 
the matter over with you without letting her know I have written 
you and if she really means to do something, help her to get at the 
truth? I think you know the truth and love it. Please let this letter 
be confidential and return to me at your leisure. 

This subject brings to mind a good deal. When I was a youngster and 
briefless, the University of North Carolina needed a man in history. 
I was informed by an ex-President then influential that if A. B. 
Andrews 19 recommended me I would be appointed. Last November, 
the night after the election I dined here with A. J. Beveridge. 20 
I had read his Ms Life of Marshall with a view to giving advice. When 
we finished talking Marshall, Beveridge told me what was arranged 
for the next presidential campaign, who were to be pressed by the 
great eastern interests upon the Republican convention. The Hamlet 
in that play is now dead and so I tell you what was otherwise confidence. 

Then I was told that Beveridge received Hughes' 21 pledge in the 
new building the night before the Indiana Progressive convention 
met in September 1916 that he, Beveridge, was to be Secretary of War 
in the Hughes cabinet and that night he, Beveridge, sent the telegram 

18 Constitutional Government in the United States. 

19 Vice-president and general manager of the Southern Railway. Andrews was for many 
years a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina. 

20 Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, United States Senator from Indiana, 1889-1911; chairman of 
the Progressive National Convention, 1912, and author of the Life of John Marshall, 4 vols. 

21 Charles Evans Hughes, Republican presidential candidate in 1916, later Chief Justice 
of the United States Supreme Court. 

96 The North Carolina Historical Review 

to Indianapolis that swung the convention into line the next day for 

Of course I know the vanity of politicians well enough to discount 
the personal note in this. But Beveridge is a good man, unconsciously 
used, perhaps consciously using others sometimes, by men of the 
Roosevelt following. Yet he told me the truth. It was part of the 
Hughes campaign to secure the German vote which favored Beveridge, 
Beveridge having published a book that had been forbidden to be sent 
to the army camps. 22 Now I do not believe in suppressing books or 
censoring news, except of a military character, and so do not endorse 
this conduct of the Government or condemn Beveridge if he wrote 
out of an honest heart a defense of any part of the German system. 
(Only it was a curious thing in a Progressive). 

My point now is to indicate how things of this sort are the stock 
in trade of leadership, how in bad men it is simply a matter of bar- 
gaining sacred things away. This kind of thing underlay the whole 
civil war in this country on both sides to an amazing degree. If 
Miss Smith, 23 to whom I have written, really means to tell the story 
of Vance and North Carolina during the civil war, she must try to 
get under the surface and give the whole story, fearing nothing 
or nobody. 

Your story of the West Virginia arbitration came 24 and I enjoyed 
reading it. This struggle, the one in which you played a part then, 
is as old as mankind. It is now on here with intense purpose on both 
sides to win. Wilson was defeated at Paris by the great and bitter 
opposition that refused him the support that was due him. He comes 
back to re-fight every battle he has fought heretofore. His place in 
history is still insecure. What a picture man must make in the eyes 
of that greater Intelligence that overlooks us all! 

Yours sincerely, 

William E. Dodd 


May 12, 1919 

Dr. William E. Dodd, 

My dear Doctor: 

I read with interest the within letter, which I return as requested. 

It was Walpole who said "As for history, we know that is a lie." And 

Napoleon said "History is a fiction agreed on." 

22 What is Back of the War (1915), which the New York Herald called a "pro-German 
book on the War." See Claude G. Bawers, Beveridge and the Progressive Era, p. 482. 

23 Florence E. Smith, professor of history at Agnes Scott College since 1929. Miss Smith 
obtained the Ph.D. degree at Chicago, writing her dissertation on "The Influence of the 
Populist Party in North Carolina." 

24 An Eight-Hour Day Decision: By Hon. Walter Clark, Chief Justice of the North Caro- 
lina Supreme Court, Acting as Umpire in the Case of Iron Molder's Union No. 36U (Wheeling, 
West Va.) versus the Wheeling Mold and Foundry Co. (Washington, D. C: American Federa- 
tion of Labor, 1918), p. 8. 

William E. Dodd-Walter Clark Letters 97 

There is probably no true history of any time. The material is often 
destroyed and more often is biased or faked. Then the past often has 
a bearing on the present and for that reason is warped, either inten- 
tionally or by the bias of the writer. Byron said that "Fame depends 
not so much upon what a man did as upon his historian's style." 

Pilate's question "What is Truth?" was not answered by the only 
one who could have answered the question and it is very rarely found 
in the narrative of today's events and still less in those of the past. 

As to the incident you relate of Mr. Beveridge, I have no doubt it 
occurred, and I think you will find that in most cases the candidate for 
President usually makes up his cabinet as one of the methods of get- 
ting the requisite support for a nomination and election. I believe 
it is established that Lincoln did so, and it is probable that it is always 
done. As to some positions the promise is definite and as to others 
indefinite, and we know there have been many fierce quarrels after 
election and charges of bad faith in not keeping ante-election pledges. 
This has extended not only to appointments in the cabinet, but to many 
other high positions. 

If the truth about these pre-election pledges were made known, 
the world would be astonished. 

We are usually of the opinion that Napoleon owed his rise to him- 
self, and of course his genius was indispensable, but when looking up 
the Draper papers at Madison, Wisconsin, I came across a letter from 
the First Consul to General Ney, which satisfied me that one of the 
means by which Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor in May 1804 was 
pledges given to 14 leading generals that they would be created 
marshals if they would bring their soldiers to the support of the 
aspirations of the general in chief. 

Since then closer reading of history has satisfied me that this is 
what actually took place and occurs more or less in the nomination or 
selection of every man for high position. His own merits give him the 
"Bulge," but he usually wins out by the shrewdness of his manager 
in exchanging promises for support. 

As to Governor Vance, I regard him as the ablest North Carolinian 
of his day and that he was really at heart in favor of popular rule. 
He had policy in what he did and ambition, but he did not surrender 
his convictions to procure success. His language and his anecdotes 
were not always what they should have been, but they were suited to 
his hearers and he understood how to move them. 

In 1866 I was a law student in Washington 25 and had law business 
with Black, 26 Lamon & Herndon. The former was the famous Attorney 
General, and the other two were former partners of Lincoln, who had 
made Lamon, marshal of the District of Columbia during the War. 

25 Clark studied law at the Columbian Law School in 1866. 

26 Jeremiah S. Black, Attorney General of the United States, 1857-1860, and Secretary of 
State, December, 1860-March, 1861. 

98 The North Carolina Historical Review 

From then I learned the true character of Lincoln tho they were his 
friends, and it was entirely different toto ceolo, from the apotheosis 
of him, which is now current. Indeed they wrote a life of him, but on 
its appearance the first volume was bought up and suppressed, and 
the manuscript of the second volume was destroyed. His party came 
very near defeating Lincoln for re-nomination in 1864, and I presume 
you know much of what happened at that time. 

I think that what I have quoted from Walpole and Napoleon above 
is a true estimate of history by two of the men whose experience 
entitled them to know how it was made. 

With high regard, Mogt tmly yourg> 

Walter Clark 

P.S. Do you ever see the "Federationist" ? I have an article in this 
May issue which I wrote at Mr. Gomper's request. I would like for 
you to get and read it. 

University of Chicago 

June 7, 1919 
My dear Judge Clark: 

I read your article in The Federationist for May with entire agree- 
ment, as I am apt to do in the reading of anything you write on his- 
torical and constitutional subjects. There are few judges in the United 
States that can see things from the point of view of common men. 
You are almost alone, a fact which has distressed me. Why can not 
men educated, as so many of them have been, at the public expense 
and for public positions and at present paid out of the public treasury 
bring their minds to see two sides to a question? It is a fact which 
one only understands by a more than casual study of history. 

You will say, why can not historians see things from the people's 
point of view? I agree that most do not, that most historians, like 
lawyers, are color blind. The same understanding of history, already 
mentioned, is required to answer this query. I am almost to the point 
of putting forward a law of history, or national evolution which 
shows this ; but I dislike dogmatism so strongly that I hesitate. I may 
yet do it. 

What you said about Vance corresponds with what I have thought 
and written ; and what one of my best students, now at the University 
of Iowa, has brought out in a careful, but unpublished, study of the 
facts. I do not think the war governor worse than other so-called 
statesmen, both from North Carolina and from other states; only he 
should have been better, after all that has been claimed for him. 

Warren's History of the American Bar unconsciously showed me 
much about lawyers and Judges — and professors too. 

William E. Dodd-Walter Clark Letters 99 

After all that has been said against Bryan, and Bryan does disap- 
point us in private conversation, he has not lowered the public taste 
or cheapened morality. He has actually made the mass of men better 
and cleaner in their thinking ; the same must be said for Wilson. This 
can not be said for Vance. Some of the filthiest "yarns" that ever 
came to my ears as a youngster were known as Vance stories. I can 
not condone that. He was proclaimed to be the greatest our state ever 
produced! I was reared so to think. 

Another thing. His role during the civil war was mere politics. 
That is not to say there were no grievances in our state. It is to say 
Vance treated everything just in the way Lodge is now handling things 
in the Senate. I shall never call a man statesman who behaves that 
way. And again Vance showed where his heart lay in the sore trials 
of 1893 and thereabouts. But I won't continue. 

Yours sincerely, 

William E. Dodd 

April 16, 1924 
My dear Judge Clark: 

Your Magna Carta and Trial by Jury both interests me and calls 
forth my admiration for your keen acumen and the great intellectual 
vigor you show and keep busy amidst toils and distractions that might 
readily absorb all the energies of a much younger man. I have tried to 
do some work in my day and I am frank to say I wonder how you do 
so much. 

But your kind and mine is not multiplying. This nation of ours 
is so fast becoming firmly fastened to the wheels of the industrial 
machine that I doubt whether most young men think it worth while 
to bother. See what evidences even the south brings forth day by day 
that they only wish to be counted "like the industrial north." Hardly 
a college, great or small in all the south but now sets up a school of 
commerce to teach young men, not to think more closely, but to get 
rich quickly. I am wholly depressed when I visit the colleges of the 
country, especially the south where the experience of years gone 
ought to have made them hesitate. 

Yours sincerely, 
William E. Dodd 


Edited by Hugh Buckner Johnston 

The collector of local history can make no discovery more satis- 
fying than a bundle of old letters, because they are likely to 
possess considerable social and historical significance if penned 
during a period of civic distress such as "the late unpleasantness" 
between the states. The seeming obscurity of the persons in- 
volved should not detract from the importance of their thoughts 
and observations, for it was primarily the rank and file of the 
Confederate Army who toiled over the earthworks, threw their 
lean bodies against the steel of the enemy, and suffered the count- 
less mental and physical agonies of war. 

The Vinsons were a family of moderate means who resided 
on a farm adjoining the Wayne County (North Carolina) Poor 
House at the time the federal census was taken on September 
28, 1850. * Thomas Robert Vinson was then thirty-nine years 
of age, and his wife, Martha Fletcher was forty-four. There 
were five children: Rachel, Mary, Uriah, Daniel, and Benjamin, 
whose ages ranged from four to twelve. The two girls were de- 
scribed as students in the neighborhood school. It may be con- 
jectured that T. R. Vinson was a son of Clarka Vinson who was 
born in 1785 and lived not far away on a little property valued 
at $300. 2 Most of their near relations of the Vinson name had 
settled not many years earlier in Madison County, Tennessee. 

We are mainly concerned, however, with the three sons of T. R. 
and "Patty" Vinson, as the first six letters of the following series 
were written by Uriah, the seventh by Daniel, and the eighth 
by Benjamin. The ninth letter came from their first cousin, 
Charles Croom, whose father, John C. Croom, had married into 
the Vinson family of Wayne County and had moved with other 
Croom relations to Madison County, Tennessee, 3 where he died 
on August 28, 1853. The official military record of Charles Croom 
shows only that he enlisted on July 27, 1863, for a period of three 

i Census of 1850, Wayne County, North Carolina, No. 1025, The National Archives, Wash- 
ington, D. C. 

2 Census of 1850, Wayne County, North Carolina, No. 1062, taken on October 2, 1850, The 
National Archives. 

3 Census of 1850, Madison County, Tennessee, The National Archives. 

[ 100] 

The Vinson Confederate Letters 101 

years, in Company F, Newsom's Regiment of Tennessee Cavalry. 4 
This company appears to have been enrolled at Jackson, the 
county seat of Madison County. 

Mary or "Mollie" Vinson (mentioned in letters one, five, six 
and nine) was born on November 10, 1840, and died on August 1, 
1906. She married John Henry Sasser (February 8, 1840- August 
17, 1892) of Wayne County and had a daughter, Rachel Ellen 
Sasser (born November 11, 1873) who married Curtis Daniel 
Howell (born December 17, 1868), son of Elder Curtis Daniel 
Howell (1837-April, 1920) and wife, Sophia Deans (June 13, 
1844- January 7, 1912) of Wayne County. 5 The former was a 
son of the Reverend Morris Howell and wife, Polly Deans, and 
the latter was a daughter of Jeremiah ("Jerry") Deans and 
wife Nancy Thompson. 

Elder C. D. Howell (named above, and also in the first letter) 
enlisted at Goldsboro on September 20, 1862, in Company F, 
First North Carolina Artillery and Engineers Regiment (10th 
State Troops). His military record states that he was five feet 
and five inches in height and had dark hair, hazel eyes, and a 
fair complexion. 6 The muster rolls of August 31 and October 
31, 1863, show him on detail at Fort Anderson, and he was cap- 
tured at Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865. The Union forces sent 
him to Elmira Military Prison at Elmira, New York, where on 
February 15 he made the claim that he was "conscripted" on 
July 15, 1862, proposing to take the oath of allegiance to the 
United States because he "desires to go to Henry County, Indiana, 
where he has relatives residing." He was not allowed to leave 
Elmira Prison until May 29, 1865, however, and apparently he 
proceeded directly to his home in North Carolina. 

The captain of the company mentioned above was William 
S. G. Andrews, by profession a merchant and by birth a native 
of Woodbury, Connecticut. He enlisted at Beaufort on August 1 
and was commissioned on August 20, 1861. 7 He was taken pris- 
oner at Hatteras on August 29 and was released by parole on 

4 War Department, The Adjutant General's Office, Old Records Section, Confederate States 
Army Records, The National Archives. 

5 Family records in possession of Mrs. Sadie Howell Collins, Wilson, North Carolina. 

6 War Department, The Adjutant General's Office, Old Records Section, Confederate States 
Army Records, The National Archives. 

7 War Department, The Adjutant General's Office, Old Records Section, Confederate States 
Army Records, The National Archives. See also Walter Clark, editor, Histories of the Several 
Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War, 1861-65, I, 489, 501, 525; 
V, 39-52. 

102 The North Carolina Historical Review 

December 27. Company F was ordered to proceed to Fort Macon 
on March 2, 1862, but Captain Andrews was absent on detached 
service at Harker's Island when the Fort and its garrison sur- 
rendered on April 26. He was granted a sick-furlough on July 
10, 1863, probably because of the chronic diarrhea that put him 
on August 3 in C. S. A. General Military Hospital No. 4, at Wil- 
mington. From there he was transferred to the Confederate 
Military Hospital at Goldsboro, resigning his commission because 
of poor health on March 8, 1864. E. D. Walsh succeeded to the 
captaincy and was captured by the enemy at the fall of Fort 
Fisher. Despite Confederate States Army regulations on the 
subject, Captain Andrews appears to have spent surprisingly 
little time with his company during the period of his service. 

Uriah T. Vinson enlisted at Goldsboro for the period of the 
war on September 12, 1862, in Company F, First North Carolina 
Artillery Regiment. 8 The muster rolls of August 31 and Octo- 
ber 31, 1863, show him absent on detail to Fort Anderson. On 
June 8, 1863, Daniel J. Vinson enlisted at Goldsboro in the same 
company. 9 On June 26, 1864, he was detached for special duty 
at Smith ville, being still absent on August 31. He experienced 
an attack of acute diarrhea, and was treated at General Military 
Hospital No. 4 at Wilmington on December 27 and 28. During 
an attack made by the Federals against Fort Fisher on January 
3, 1865, he received a slight wound in the face. On January 15, 
1865, the two brothers were captured at the surrender of this 
fort, after which they were incarcerated on January 30 at Elmira 
Prison. Daniel died there of chronic diarrhea on March 16, age 
about twenty-one years, and Uriah died there of pneumonia on 
March 19, age about twenty-three years. 

Benjamin W. Vinson (1846-1909) enlisted at Goldsboro on 
March 18, 1864, under Captain W. R. Bass (who will be men- 
tioned subsequently). On September 17, he secured a transfer 
to Company H, First North Carolina Artillery Regiment, but 
his name appears regularly on the muster rolls of Company K 
of this regiment. 10 He served in the Confederate Army until 

8 War Department, The Adjutant General's Office, Old Records Section, Confederate States 
Army Records. The National Archives. See also Walter Clark, editor, North Carolina Regi- 
ments, 1861-'65, I, pp. 489-498. 

9 War Department, The Adjutant General's Office, Old Records Section, Confederate States 
Army Records, The National Archives. 

10 War Department, The Adjutant General's Office, Old Records Section, Confederate States 
Army Records, The National Archives. 

The Vinson Confederate Letters 103 

the end of the war, and then spent the rest of his life farming 
near Contentnea Creek in Wilson County. He never married. 

W. R. Bass started his military career in 1862 as second lieu- 
tenant of Company I, Thirty-fifth North Carolina Infantry Regi- 
ment, but he was captain of a company of unattached militia 
from Wayne County and vicinity as early as July 20, 1863. The 
records of the War Department state that this was [new] Com- 
pany D [old Company E], Eighth Battalion of North Carolina 
Partisan Rangers. 11 The Eighth and Thirteenth battalions were 
consolidated on October 2, 1863, to form the Sixty-sixth North 
Carolina Infantry Regiment that was mustered into Confederate 
service on October 31, as a part of Martin's Brigade, Whiting's 
Division. It is stated further that Bass's Company was assigned 
to the Sixty-sixth Regiment as Company L, but that to all prac- 
tical purposes it remained Captain W. R. Bass's Independent 
Company of North Carolina Infantry. 12 

Walter Clark's North Carolina Regiments, 1861-1865, calls 
it Company C, Sixty-eighth North Carolina Regiment; John W. 
Moore's Roster of North Carolina Troops lists it as Company 
K, Sixty-seventh North Carolina Regiment; and an unsigned 
notation made by a veteran of this company was equally certain 
that it was Company H, Sixty-eighth North Carolina Regiment. 
The details presented by Clark are sufficiently convincing that 
it actually bore the classification of Company C by the beginning 
of 1865, before taking part in the battles of South West Creek 
and Bentonville. The Sixty-sixth, Sixty-seventh, and Sixty- 
eighth regiments were closely associated during the final period 
of the war in the military activities of eastern North Carolina, 
and the flexible movements of Bass's Company were undoubtedly 
responsible for the confusion over its exact organization appel- 

There is some doubt as to the identity of Lenoir Hill (men- 
tioned in the fourth letter), but the most reasonable explanation 
is that the writer intended to say Leonidas Hill who enlisted at 
Goldsboro for the period of the war on September 1, 1862, in 
Company F, First North Carolina Artillery Regiment. 13 On 

n War Department, The Adjutant General's Office, Old Records Section, Confederate States 
Army Records. The National Archives. 

12 Clark, North Carolina Regiments, 1861-'65, III, 725-727; IV, 402. 

13 War Department, The Adjutant General's Office, Old Records Section, Confederate States 
Army Records. The National Archives. 

104 The North Carolina Historical Review 

August 9, 1863, he was admitted under complaint of intermittent 
fever to C. S. A. General Military Hospital No. 4. He deserted 
at Smith ville on September 11, but returned voluntarily on De- 
cember 20 and was clapped into the guardhouse, where he con- 
tinued to languish as late as February 28, 1864. On March 25 
General Martin ordered his transfer to Company K, Sixty-sixth 
North Carolina Infantry Regiment, and the absence of further 
record implies that he served until the disbanding of this organi- 
zation after Lee's surrender. 

Isaac Croom (see the fifth letter) was conscripted at Wilming- 
ton for the period of the war on May 25, 1863, in Company F, 
First North Carolina Artillery Regiment. 14 He was described 
about this time as being five feet and eight inches in height, with 
auburn hair, blue eyes, and fair complexion. He was absent from 
his company on detail to Fort Anderson on October 31, 1863, 
and was sick in the hospital on December 31. He was again 
taken sick at Smithville on June 26, 1864. On January 15, 1865, 
he was captured with the rest of the company at the fall of Fort 
Fisher, being imprisoned on January 30 in Elmira Military 
Prison. On March 31, 1865, he asked that he might take the 
oath of allegiance to the United States. His statement said that 
he "Claims to have been an Union Man," and that he "desires to 
go to Wilmington, N. C, where his family resides," but the federal 
authorities did not see fit to release him until May 29. 

Wilmington, N. C. 

Jan. 27, 1863. 
Dear Father, 

I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at this time, 
also in hope these few lines may find you all well. To-day is very windy, 
and the fire is raging furiously in the lower part of Town, and all of 
one Company have gone down to it. There is great excitement in this 
Town now. They are looking for the Yankees every day now, and all 
the business is stopped. There is action now and then. It is very 
hard times here now. We do not get half enough to eat, and that is not 
fit to eat, but I will try to get along the best I can, in hopes that the 
War will soon end and we will soon meet together to stay longer than 
ever. I want you to do the best you can, and do not be uneasy about 

14 War Department, The Adjutant General's Office, Old Records Section, Confederate States 
Army Records. The National Archives. 

The Vinson Confederate Letters 105 

me, for I am just as safe here as I would be at home. I received your 
letter this morning and was very glad to hear that you were all well, 
and was very sorry to hear that Daniel had to go to Raleigh. I am 
afraid that they will keep him. Curtis Howell is well as common, and 
all the rest that left our neighborhood, as far as I know. I will write 
to you to-morrow and let you know how the fire is coming along. You 
must write as soon as you get this. You may tell Mary that I went to 
Church on last Sunday night and heard the Reverend Moran 15 preach, 
and I would be glad to sit and hear him one whole week. I must come 
to a close, for I am on guard to-day. Nothing more at this time, 
only I remain your Urjah ^ ^^ 

Wilmington, N. C. 

March 1, 1863. 

Dear Father, 

I again take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at this 

time, hoping this will find you enjoying the same good blessing. I have 

not had any letter from you in some time. I want you to write to me 

as soon as you get this and let me know how you all are, for I am 

anxious to hear from you all. We have not had anything to eat in one 

week, only what we bought, and we have to give everything for it, 

leave nothing. We live the hardest we ever did, and it is certain. 

I do not think that the War will last long, as it is getting such hard 

times. I have no news of importance to write this time, only there 

are five big steamers in here now that have run the blockade. Goods 

are very plentiful here now, but they are very high. Salt is selling at 

four dollars per bushel. Nothing more. __ . , m „. 

Uriah T. Vinson. 

Headquarters, Garrison of Wilmington 

March the 22, 1863. 
Dear Father and Mother, 

I seat myself to write you a few lines to inform you that I am 
well as common, but I am faring bad, for I have not been off of guard 
in three days. We have not moved yet, nor do I think we will soon, 
but wish that we could leave here, for I think it is the worst place in 
the State. Capt. Stephens' 16 Company that stood guard with us has 

15 Dr. R. S. Moran became chaplain of the Fiftieth North Carolina Infantry Regiment 
when it was organized at Camp Mangum, near Raleigh, on April 15, 1862. Company E of this 
regiment was enlisted from Wayne County. Clark, North Carolina Regiments, 1861-65, III, 
161, 202; IV, 617. 

!6 There is a bare possibility that this was Captain J. F. Stephens of Company D, Second 
North Carolina Regiment of Detailed Men. He was from near Toms Creek in Surry County. 
On September 26, 1864, the headquarters of this company was in Charlotte, North Carolina. 
Confederate States Army Records, The National Archives. 


106 The North Carolina Historical Review 

gone to Charleston, and that is what makes it so much harder on us 
than common. I want you to write when you get this, for I have not 
had any letter from you since you were here. It is the longest time 
without hearing from you it has been since I left home in October, 
and I have written to you twice since you left here. I hope this will 
find you all enjoying the best of health and doing well. I would like 
to be at home this Sunday to go to meeting. You all live like we used to. 
The big steamer "Giraffe" 17 ran in again one day last week. She 
brought a large cargo of shoes and blankets for the Government, and 
that one you and Capt. Andrews went aboard of when you were here 
was taken by the Yankees the day after they left this Port, with all 
of her cargo. Her cargo consisted of 600 bags of cotton and 250 
boxes of tobacco. She was taken down at the mouth of Cape Fear. 
We have drawn a new uniform and new shoes, all of the best kind. 
Nothing more at this time, only I remain your loving son until death, 

Uriah T. Vinson 
"Time and tide wait for no man." Franklin. 

Wilmington, N. C. 

Uriah T. Vinson 
Co. C, 4 Regiment 18 his loving father T. R. Vinson. 

N. C. T. Wilmington Provost Guard 

in Capt. Andrews' 
N. C. T. Artillery 

Wilmington, N. C. 

March the 27, 1863. 
Dear Father and Mother, 

I this evening seat myself to write you a few lines to inform you 
that I am well at this time, hoping these few lines may find you with 
the blessing of health. I received your letter this morning, of which 
I was glad to hear that you were all well. I have nothing of importance 
to write at this time, only that we have not moved yet, nor do I think 
we will this winter. I have written every week since you left here, and 
I have not had any letter from you until this morning. I hope I will 
get the chance to come home some time this spring, as they are giving 
out furloughs now. I do not need any clothing now, for I drew a new 
suit this week. I want you to write to me if you have begun to plant 
corn yet, and write all of the news that is going on in the neighbor- 

17 The Giraffe was one of two steamers purchased from Great Britain early in 1863 for the 
purpose of running the Union blockade. Its signal officer was Robert Herring. Clark, North 
Carolina Regiments, 1861-65, V, 406. 

18 John B. Andrews of Iredell County was captain of Company C, Fourth North Carolina 
Infantry Regiment, C S. A. This company was organized at Camp Hill near Garysburg in 
May, 1861, and was present at the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, April 9, 1865 Clark 
North Carolina Regiments, 1861-'65, I, 229-280. 

The Vinson Confederate Letters 107 

hood, and you all to remember me. I would love to be at home now and 
go to the field to work like I did last Spring. Our Company is all well 
at this time. Lenoir Hill is well. Nothing more at this time, only 
write soon. 

Uriah T. Vinson 

Wilmington, N. C. 
April 19, 186 [4] 
Dear Father, 

I take the opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know 
that we are all well at this time, hoping this will find you all the same. 
We are in Wilmington in the same quarters where Capt. Bass's Com- 
pany was, and they have moved out of Town about a quarter of a mile. 
Ben has not swapped yet. Captain Bass will not give Ben for Croom, 
but I think I can get him in this Company yet. We all stand guard 
here in Town together, and Ben is well. I wrote to Mary last Sunday 
was a week ago, and I have not got any answer yet. 

Your loving son until death, 

Uriah T. Vinson 

Fort Penn 
Smithville, N. C. 
Oct. the 30th, 1864. 
Dear Father and Mother, 

I again take my pen in hand to let you know that we are all well 
at this time, hoping these few lines may come safely to hand and find 
you all enjoying the same good blessing of health and answer to your 
kind letter that came to hand last week, which was the first one that 
we have had from you since we left Wilmington. I would like to know 
why you do not write, for we have written some four or five letters 
since we came from Wilmington. 

These are very exciting times in Smithville now, and everybody is 
looking for the Yankees, but I do not see any more sign of them than 
I did twelve months ago. Times are mighty hard and provisions the 
worst to get that I ever saw. Potatoes are thirty dollars a bushel. I 
have not time to write much at this time, and will write more when 
I get a letter from home. 

Uriah T. Vinson 
When this you see, remember me, dear sister Mary. 

* * f> 

. •» *■ • • • • • • • z •»• 

», *•••»» • a ••• •» * • '» 

108 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Fort Holmes, Bald Head Island 
Brunswick County, North Carolina 
Decer. the 9, 1863. 
Dear Father, 

I this day take the pleasant opportunity of informing you that I am 
well, hoping these few lines will come safely to hand and find you and 
family well, but Uriah is in very bad health. He is very poor. I don't 
think he has eaten one ration of meat since we ate what he fetched 
from home. He doesn't do any duty at all. I wish he was well. There 
is not much news stirring at this time. I should love to hear from 
Virginia about this time. On Sunday morning before day broke the 
steamer "Ceres" was trying to run the blockade from Bermuda, and 
the Yankees chased after her very close. She ran on the sand where 
the water was about seven feet deep, and the crew threw out about 
fifty tons of pork. The Yankees came so close that Capt. set her on fire, 
and the crew got on their life boats and oared ashore. The Yankees 
went and got aboard of her and tried to put her out, but they failed. 
In the time they were on her, Caswell 19 opened fire on them, and 
Sweetman's 20 Battery fired. Our Battery opened fire, and there was 
a constant brawl of cannons. The Yankees had to leave there, but that 
night they came and carried her off. I have but little to write this 
time. I will close by saying I am truly your 

Son until death, 
Daniel J. Vinson 

Mason Hospital No. 5 
at Wilmington, N. C. 
Sept. 8th, 1864. 
Dear Father, 

I seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am not 
well, but I am better than I have been. I came to the hospital last 
Monday very sick, but I am on the mend. Dear Father, I have no news 
to write at the present. I will tell you about our fare at the hospital. 
We fare very well indeed. We get a plenty to eat, and that is good. 
I hope that I shall soon be well again, so I can return to my Company. 
Dear father, I must bring my letter to a close for this time. You must 
write as soon as you can, so I remain your loving son until death. 

From Benjamin Vinson 

19 Fort Caswell in Brunswick County, North Carolina. 

20 On March 16, 1861, at Pensacola, Florida, Robert L. Sweetman was appointed second 
lieutenant of an artillery company. On May 29, 1863, he was ordered to report to General 
Whiting for engineering duty at Wilmington, North Carolina, where, on July 18 he was ap- 
pointed captain of an artillery company that attained considerable local repute under the title 
of "Sweetman's Battery." He was still in service in the vicinity of Wilmington as late as 
March, 1865, and returned to Florida on parole after all military activities had ended. Con- 
federate States Army Records. The National Archives. Clark, North Carolina Regiments, 
1861-'65, IV, 418, 430. 

The Vinson Confederate Letters 109 

Defenses, Richmond and Petersburg, Va. 
Sept. 1, 1864. 
Dearest Mollie, 

Yours of Aug. 26th has been received and is now before me, and I 
suppose I need not assure you that it was indeed a great source of 
pleasure to me, for you cannot but know that I am glad to hear from 
you. Dearest, I am sorry to tell you that I am not with my Company 
as usual, but am on the Pioneer Corps. A special detail was sent in for 
me, and I was obliged to go. I do not know why it was, but there were 
sixteen men detailed from the Division to finish some work on the forti- 
fications just opposite to where the Yankees are cutting the canal 
across the bend of the River, and I was one of the men named. The 
Capt. asked General Pickett 21 to give him some men and to allow him 
to name the men, and I was one of the men named. I suppose that 
some one recommended me as a good hand. In fact, Capt. Fairfax 22 
told me that I was recommended to him by some of the Provost Guard, 
and as there are some of the 7th in the Provost Guard I suppose they 
told the Capt. that I was a good willing hand. If I had it to tell, I 
should say I was rather a poor hand, and by no means a willing hand. 

We have to work pretty hard, but not as hard as I expected. We 
have reliefs like we would on guard, but not being used to work, it 
goes pretty hard with me. My hands are a little sore, and I feel some- 
what tired to-day after I have quit work, but have sustained no bodily 
injury any further than that we are working about three miles from 
where my Regiment is on the lines. The object in throwing up the 
forts upon which we are now at work is to keep the Yankee boats back 
after they have cut the canal through and have changed the bed or 
channel of the James River, so as to flank our Howlett Batteries and 
by that means turn our left flank and make us fall back to Drury's 
Bluff, but if they ever do get the canal through, they cannot pass up 
into the main channel of the River with their boats. We will have not 
only the Battery we are now constructing, which is just opposite where 
the canal will tap the River, but we will have our gunboats there also 
to guard the River. We have two mortar guns now playing on the 
Yankee working party, and I would think that "digging" with a mortar 
shell falling in among the party occasionally is rather unpleasant 
work. They have not been shelling our party yet, but they doubtless 
will before long, and when they do, we will have the work to do, nearly 
all of it, after night. We do now nearly half of the work after night. 

21 General George E. Pickett (January 25, 1825-July 30, 1875), C. S. A. 

22 Raymond Fairfax enlisted on April 17, 1861, at Alexandria, Virginia, in Captain Morton 
Marye's Company (Alexandria Riflemen), Seventeenth Virginia Infantry Regiment, C. S. A. 
He was then thirty-one years of age. On May 23, 1861. he was elected first lieutenant and was 
transferred on May 28 to Company I (Captain Stephen W. Presstman's Company, O'Connell 
Guards), Seventeenth Virginia Infantry Regiment. On April 26, 1862, he was elected captain 
of this company, but the muster rolls for December 31 show him on detached service with 

the Pioneer Corps, Pickett's Division, Department of North Carolina. On August 9, 1864, he 
applied for transfer back into the regular service; and on September 21 he was admitted, 
while on furlough, to the Ladies' Relief Hospital at Lynchburg, Virginia. Confederate States 
Army Records. The National Archives. 

110 The North Carolina Historical Review 

I hope they will not keep us long on the detail. I had much rather 
be in the Company. I miss my friends, and I miss the good meetings we 
were having when I was there, and I miss the mails and the papers. 
We get neither mails nor papers here. I got my letters when they 
came by going after them or by some of the boys in the Company 
bringing them over. So you see I am somewhat behind the times. I 
would like to know to-day what they do at Chicago. All eyes are turned 
with deep interest to the Convention. 23 I trust the anxious hopes of us 
all will not be disappointed. I will have to close soon, as we will have 
to go to work, but I will try and finish this and send it to-morrow eve- 
ning. Do not get tired waiting. While you are sleeping tonight I 
will be laboring to defend our Country from invasion. Be a good girl, 
darling, and do not forget me in your prayers. 

Sept. 2nd. 1864. 
Dear Mollie, this morning before going to work I will try to finish 
your letter. We worked very hard last night until 12 o'clock. We were 
mounting 200-pounder guns, which was extremely heavy work. You 
will see that working does not make me write a better hand. We had 
a visit from General Lee 24 yesterday. He seemed quite well, and very 
full of his jokes. General Pickett came down with him to see the forts 
we were making. I was standing near-by where they were talking. 
He asked General Pickett if there was any change in the Howlett House 
Batteries. General Pickett told him there was no material change. 
General Lee then said that he would ride up there if he could get there 
with his wagon, meaning his carriage, and said he did not want the 
Yankees to strike his wagon with one of those big shots and break 
it up, for he set a good deal of store by it; that he considered it a 
present from General McClellan, and he supposed if McClellan was 
elected President of the United States, 25 he (McClellan) would want 
his wagon back again. General Lee then went on to say it was captured 
in the seven days fight before Richmond and was said to be General 
McClellan's. I never knew before yesterday that General ever troubled 
himself about small things such as the construction of a fort, or placing 
guns into position, etc., but I was laboring under a mistake. He was 
looking all around our fort and giving his advice and instructions just 
the same as if he had been in command of the working detail, but I 
must close. Please excuse this badly written letter. I will try and do 
better next time. Give my love to all and accept a large share for 
yourself, and by writing soon you will gratify and oblige yours truly, 


23 The Democratic National Convention which met at Chicago on August 29, 1864, in- 
cluded in its platform a plank urging an immediate armistice between the United States 
and the Confederate States. 

24 General Robert Edward Lee. 

2 5 General George Brinton McClellan (December 3, 1826-October 29, 1885) received the 
Democratic nomination for President of the United States on August 31, 1864, and subse- 
quently polled 1,800,000 popular votes, although President Abraham Lincoln defeated him 
by 212 to 21 electoral votes. 


North Carolina Today. By Samuel H. Hobbs, Jr., and Marjorie N. Bond. 
(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 1947. Pp. ix, 420. $2.30.) 

This little book proposes to give in brief compass and simple 
language an overall view of the state of North Carolina. Under 
the limitations set by the nature of such a book it accomplishes 
this objective in a remarkable fashion. It first lays down a base 
in a general treatment of the economic concept of wealth. This is 
followed by an inventory of the wealth of North Carolina. Two 
sections are devoted to farming and manufacturing as the chief 
ways in which North Carolina's wealth has been used and abused. 
There are several chapters on the state's institutional wealth and 
a final rather optimistic appraisal of the state's possibilities in 
the near future. Recent publications are listed and classified for 
use by students and teachers. 

North Carolina Today should come as an encouraging note to 
those teachers who have been somewhat bewildered by the clamor 
for the past two decades concerning the integration of the social 
studies at the elementary level. Without any statement of such a 
purpose it utilizes the findings and the methods of regional ge- 
ography, history, economics, and sociology. It escapes the form- 
lessness and vacuity of many "social science" texts, however, by 
sticking closely to North Carolina. Some teachers will probably 
feel that it sticks too closely to North Carolina, as it has only one 
chapter on "North Carolina in the World Today." Furthermore, 
it ignores the question as to what might happen in the nature of 
economic reaction if North Carolina people should enter heartily 
into the various programs of improvement while their neighbors 
continued to jog along in the old ruts of comparative backward- 
ness now typical of the Southeast. There will also be differences 
of opinion as to the emphasis placed on various topics. Certainly 
the Indians deserve more than passing notice in half a dozen 
items. Many students of rural economics will also consider one 
and a half pages an inadequate treatment of industrial processing 
of farm products other than cotton and tobacco. 

The book should be more highly regarded by junior high school 
students than one recently inscribed by its youthful owner thus : 


112 The North Carolina Historical Review 

"In case of fire throw this in first." The style is mainly descrip- 
tive, concise, and informal. Illustrations are plentiful and well 
articulated to the text. Hypothetical or "average" family groups 
and individuals are frequently introduced into the discussion 
with results that should be happy for the young reader in clearly 
personalized concepts. This device is not used in the chapters on 
social services and organs of government, and these latter there- 
by barely escape the formal abstractions characteristic of older 
civics textbooks. The best third of early teen-age readers will 
demand some explanation of the comparative method of measur- 
ing progress of the state; the middle third with slight aid will 
grasp the major concepts based on resource-use; while the bottom 
third will have to depend on the teacher's explanation. The book 
should quickly prove a valuable addition to the standard equip- 
ment for teaching or learning down-to-earth facts about the Tar 

Heel state. 

Paul Murray. 

Bast Cakolina Teachers College, 
Greenville, N. C. 

Memories op Davidson College. By Walter L. Lingle. (Richmond, Virginia: 
John Knox Press. 1947. Pp. 157. $3.00.) 

This volume, as Dr. J. R. Cunningham, president of Davidson 
College since April 1, 1941, says in a brief introduction, "is a 
valuable contribution to an institution 'where a good past pre- 
dicts a better future/ " While its general character is indicated 
by its title, it is essentially a narrative of the development of 
Davidson College through all its years. The "Memories," how- 
ever, begin with the commencement of 1888, which the author, 
then nineteen years of age, attended, having come for the pur- 
pose from his country home about twenty-five miles to the north- 
east. Since that time he has been closely connected with the col- 
lege — as student, 1888-1893 ; as trustee, 1903-1929 ; as president, 
1929-1941 ; and as president emeritus since 1941. 

It is a good story that Dr. Lingle tells in his 157 pages. His 
descriptive powers are great. In his early years, at the request of 
President J. B. Shearer, he undertook to "show the college" to 
the great Presbyterian theologian, Dr. Robert L. Dabney, then 
aged and grown blind in the service of Union Theological Sem- 

Book Reviews 113 

inary. In this seemingly impossible assignment he succeeded by 
the use of oral description, following the promptings of the wise 
scholar. That skill of showing Davidson College, even to the 
blind, Dr. Lingle has manifested in the eleven chapters of this 
volume. There are shifting scenes in historical sequence of the 
college life, each filled with lively throngs of people, of whom 
some play important parts. Very helpful for the understanding 
of all are the graphic descriptions of the college plants, beginning 
with that of its first years, when its small, poorly equipped, dingy 
buildings formed a quadrangle 140 yards west of the present 

More interesting, however, are the chapters which deal with 
men and women, faculty members, grey-bearded trustees, and 
students and their young lady friends. Such is the chapter, "My 
First Commencement," that of 1888, an old-time commencement, 
for which all the students remained, though it lasted five days, 
from Sunday to Thursday night, ending with a students' recep- 
tion. Interesting also is the chapter on the faculty, that of his 
student days, of each member of which the author gives a sketch 
illustrated by an anecdote. He never saw a better college faculty 
and he has seen many. In fact, Davidson College has always given 
prime attention to its faculty. The fathers "let buildings and 
grounds go and put all they had into the faculty," and the author 
will have it that the excellence of its faculty continues to be a 
distinguishing feature of the college. Dr. Lingle takes much 
account also of students, their activities and recreations. There 
is not a subject relating to these things that he has not discussed 
with insight, sympathy, and good judgment. These qualities are 
seen especially in his statement on college fraternities. 

All the chapters of the volume, whatever their subject, con- 
tribute to one result, that of showing how Davidson College has 
progressively developed from the small but good institution with 
only the support of an impoverished people in the days after the 
Civil War to its present place among the strongest and most 
respected colleges of America, with an ever increasing number 
of friends ready and willing to provide for its needs as they 

Fittingly, the author on his last page summarizes the changes, 
all for the better, that he has seen in the college in the fifty-nine 

114 The North Carolina Historical Review 

years that he has known it. Above all material things he places 
the spirit of the college. It possessed him on his first visit and 
changed the whole course of his life. In closing his work he says : 
"The Davidson spirit which I felt at my first commencement still 
abides, and has grown even stronger and finer." 

In reading the Memories one becomes aware of something of 
which the author himself was ignorant, that is, the great per- 
sonality of him who wrote them — so modest, so honest, so healthy- 
minded, so appreciative of good in others, so sympathetic to- 
ward young men and women, so highly endowed with common 
sense, sound judgment and wisdom. 

As this volume comes from a great educational institution, the 
reviewer feels much regret that more attention was not paid to 
its style. The narrative is easy to read, and the meaning is always 
clear, but many of the pages are flecked with stylistic faults, 
more or less serious, which cannot escape the notice of readers. 
Some of these are due to the printers, who seem to have no editor, 
no stylebook, and no proofreader ; others are manifestly due to 
the author, who wrote with much disregard of niceties of style 
and conventions regularly observed by good writers. 

George W. Paschal. 

Wake Forest, N. C. 

Extracts from the Diary of Benjamin Elberfield Atkins, "A Teacher of 
the Old School," 1848-1909. Compiled by Emmett D. Atkins and James W. 
Atkins. (Gastonia, privately published. 1947. Pp. 97.) 

Benjamin Elberfield Atkins was born in East Tennessee, the 
son of a Methodist minister. From 1866 to 1874 he attended 
Emory and Henry College and taught school at successive in- 
tervals. Thus at graduation he was already launched on a career 
of teaching that extended throughout his life. This career was 
divided among the states of Tennessee, North Carolina, and Ken- 
tucky. It was attended by most of the sorrows and many of the 
triumphs that ordinarily become the lot of a man who sincerely 
devotes himself to teaching as a medium of public service and a 
means of earning a livelihood for his family. His teaching in 
North Carolina consisted of fifteen years, 1879-1894, as pro- 
fessor and president of Asheville Female College and two years 

Book Reviews 115 

as the first principal of Oakland High School, established at 
Gastonia by the Methodist Church in 1896. 

The pamphlet here under review was edited and published by 
the sons of Benjamin E. Atkins "for family circulation." There 
seems to have been little intent to select "significant" passages 
from the diary and less effort to introduce editorial identification 
of the many names and places mentioned. It is, therefore, a 
simple, personal story of the private schoolmaster at his best 
during the era of his passing from the center of the educational 
stage. Opening ceremonies, holiday quietness at boarding-school 
apartments, current topics for essays and debates, public exami- 
nations considered "moderately good" when half a class passed, 
and the place of woman in the social order constitute a fair 
sample of the multitude of subjects interlarded with personal 
and family items. The editors make no mention of the present 
location or condition of the original manuscript. 

Paul Murray. 

East Carolina Teachers College, 
Greenville, N. C. 

William Tatham, Wataugan. By Samuel Cole Williams. (Johnson City, 
Tennessee: The Watauga Press, 1947. Pp. 109. $2.50.) 

Judge Williams, leading living* historian of Tennessee and an 
indefatigable collector of historical material on North Carolina 
and Tennessee in particular, during the early and pioneer pe- 
riods, has performed a highly important service in bringing out, 
in a limited edition de luxe of 350 copies, this small but richly 
informative volume. In 1921 Judge Williams brought out a book- 
let of the above title, in a small edition which was quickly ex- 
hausted. The new edition contains much new material, gathered 
in England at the British Museum in 1929, supplementing mate- 
rials gathered there in 1921 and utilized in the first edition. 
William Tatham played a role, of more or less importance, in 
North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and indeed in the United 
States; but he has been ignored completely until effectively re- 
suscitated by Judge Williams. So far as I can discover, no men- 
tion of him is made in any North Carolina history; but S. A. 

♦Since this review was written, Judge Williams has passed away at his home, "Aquone," 
Johnson City, Tennessee, December 13, 1947. 

116 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Ashe, in his History of North Carolina, II, 84, mentions General 
John Willis, with whom William Tatham was associated in estab- 
lishing the town of Lumberton. His name appears once only, I 
believe, in the late Robert C. Lawrence's The State of Robeson 
(Lumberton, N. C, 1939), page 4. Shortly before the appearance 
of Judge Williams's second edition of William Tatham, Wataugan, 

this extraordinary man was made the subject of one of the 
sketches in the column, conducted by Mr. A. A. Wilkinson in the 
Durham Morning Herald (November 21, 1946), entitled "People 
and Places in North Carolina," under the significant title "Lost 
Prophet." A sketch of William Tatham by Judge Williams is in 
the Dictionary of American Biography. The earliest article on 
William Tatham, evidently an autobiographical account, ap- 
peared in the volume Public Characters, 1801-1802 (London, 
1804). Miss Elizabeth Gregory McPherson, research worker in 
the Library of Congress, edited "Unpublished Letters from North 
Carolinians to Jefferson," North Carolina Historical Review, 
VIII (1935), 252-283, 354-380, among which appear a number 
of letters from William Tatham (pages 357, 359, 362, 364, 366). 
Miss McPherson also edited the "Letters of William Tatham," 
which appeared in two installments in the William and Mary 
Quarterly, vol. XVI. 

When Felix Walker, clerk of the Watauga Court, Tennessee 
(then North Carolina), left in the spring of 1776 to serve in the 
campaign against the British in South Carolina, William Tatham 
was chosen as clerk pro tern in Walker's stead. Through this 
chance, Tatham achieved the distinction of drafting the "Petition 
of the Inhabitants of the Watauga settlements to the Legislature 
of North Carolina," July 5, 1776. The substance was composed, 
beyond doubt, by the mature and responsible leaders, John Cart- 
er, John Sevier, James and Charles Robertson, and others; but 
William Tatham actually was the draftsman, according to his 
own statement: "The memorial on which the civil and military 
organization of that government was founded, was actually drawn 
up by him (and still is preserved in the archives of North Caro- 
lina) at a time when he was no more than twenty-four years of 
age" (Public Characters, p. 484). The historian of Tennessee, 
J. G. M. Ramsey, discovered this document in the North Carolina 

Book Reviews 117 

State Archives; but it has since disappeared, although the text 
in full has been preserved. The "inhabitants of Washington Dis- 
trict, including the River Wataugah, Nolachuckie, &c," although 
within the chartered limits of North Carolina, had been acting as 
though they were Virginians and using Virginia laws. Now in 
this memorial they petitioned, singularly enough, to be ' 'annexed" 
to North Carolina (the curious and incorrect word used by 
Tatham). Actually the Watauga settlements had hitherto con- 
stituted a sort of miniature independent republic and now wished 
to be taken under the protection of North Carolina within whose 
bounds their settlements lay. 

It was the writer's good fortune, seventeen years ago, to dis- 
cover, in the North Carolina State Archives, a single folio of 
sheets, stitched together, numbering 102 manuscript pages. This 
is the official report of the Treaty of Long Island of Holston 
River, July, 1777. The commissioners for North Carolina were 
Waightstill Avery, William Sharpe, Robert Lanier, and Joseph 
Winston; those representing Virginia were William Christian, 
William Preston, and Evan Shelby. Daniel Smith was chosen as 
clerk by the Virginia commissioners, and William Tatham as 
clerk by those from North Carolina. Tatham himself says that 
he "assisted the North Carolina commissioners in preparing the 
documents and conducting the conferences." This important his- 
torical document, described above, was edited by the writer and 
published in The North Carolina Historical Review, VII (1931), 

William Tatham was born in 1752 at Hatton-in-the-Forest, in 
the County of Cumberland, England. At the age of seventeen he 
crossed the Atlantic and formed a connection with Carter and 
Trent, a firm of merchants on James River, Virginia. In 1776 he 
removed to the Watauga Settlement, where he entered into the 
service of John Carter, merchant. He served as adjutant to the 
military force in Washington District and at Long Island of 
Holston, under John Carter, James Robertson, and John Sevier 
in warfare with the Cherokee and Creek Indians. In 1777 he 
removed to Virginia, where he engaged in mercantile enterprises. 
During the next two years he followed a military career in 
Virginia, and in 1780 he studied law in the office of Samuel 

118 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Hardy. Later this same year he returned to the Tennessee coun- 
try, where he busied himself with affairs of the North Carolina 
land office. Here he formed the acquaintance of Spruce Macay 
and William Richardson Davie. Returning to Virginia he met, 
and won the friendship of, Thomas Jefferson. During Arnold's 
invasion of Virginia he acted as a courier, taking messages be- 
tween Governor Jefferson, General Nelson, and Baron Steuben. 
He served as aide to General Nelson, and was present at the siege 
of Yorktown. After the capitulation of Cornwallis, Tatham was 
appointed, and served for a year, as clerk to the Board of Privy 
Council of Virginia. 

Some years later he went to Halifax, North Carolina, where 
he completed his law course under William R. Davie ; and he was 
admitted to the North Carolina bar, March 24, 1784. Endowed 
with talents as an engineer, he spent the next two years both in 
the practice of law and in exploring the feasibility of linking 
eastern and trans-Alleghany Carolina by waterway. In 1786, as 
already mentioned, he was associated with John Willis and others 
in laying out and establishing the town of Lumberton, Robeson 
County ; and the following year he served as a representative of 
that county in the North Carolina assembly. By a joint vote of 
both houses he was elected lieutenant-colonel of the Fayetteville 
militia district. After this date he is no longer associated with 
the state of North Carolina, but with Virginia and the nation. His 
work in behalf of a general topographical survey caused him to 
be termed the "Father of the United States Topographical and 
Coast Surveys, and of the Coast-wise Canal." In 1807 Tatham 
executed a manuscript map of North Carolina, which is preserved 
in the Maps Division, Library of Congress. He did important 
engineering work in Great Britain, went on a secret mission to 
Spain, and made a number of coastal surveys along the Atlantic 
coast. He left behind a large collection of maps, plats, charts, and 
explanatory manuscripts, which over a period of years he sought, 
but in vain, to sell to the government. He was a prolific writer 
and published a considerable number of books and pamphlets. 

In his latter years misfortune dogged his footsteps. Harassed 
by debt, he fell into melancholia and his mind became distracted. 
At the sundown salute of the "public guard" in Richmond, Vir- 

Book Reviews 119 

ginia, February 22, 1819, he deliberately stepped in front of a 
cannon about to fire and was blown to smithereens. He was a 
friend and correspondent of Jefferson and Madison, and "col- 
laborated with Robert Fulton on canalization and the invention 

of the steamboat." 

Archibald Henderson. 

The University of North Carolina, 
Chapel Hill, N. C. 

Summer Migrations and Resorts of South Carolina Low-Country Planters. 
By Lawrence Fay Brewster. (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University 
Press, 1947. Pp. vii, 134. $1.00.) 

Sometime in June, if possible, the nineteenth-century South 
Carolina planter packed up his family, his servants, and his 
"goods and chattels" and journeyed either to "the Salt" or to "the 
Pine" to avoid the devastating effect of the malaria parasite. Be- 
fore the days of practically universal house screening and the 
discovery of DDT, and before it was generally known just why 
the Anopheles mosquito appeared to be "public enemy number 
one," the lowlander made it a practice to live almost a third of 
each year away from home. He discovered that a more health- 
ful climate could be found in such localities as Charleston, Beau- 
fort, and Georgetown, at the sea island beaches, on the pine ridges 
at spots suggestively designated as Pineland, Pineville, and Pi- 
nopolis, and in the invigorating atmosphere of the South Carolina 
foothills and the North Carolina mountains. 

Dr. Lawrence Fay Brewster, author of Summer Migrations 
and Resorts of South Carolina Low-Country Planters, was for- 
merly a member of the Duke University faculty but is now pro- 
fessor of history at East Carolina Teachers College in Greenville, 
North Carolina. While teaching at Clemson College, South Caro- 
lina, not far from Pendleton, one of the better known resort 
towns, he became interested in the low-country planter families 
and the places to which they migrated. 

After discussing the reasons why the planter left home, Dr. 
Brewster takes up the questions of time and duration of the self- 
imposed exile. In general the "advent of summer" marked the 
beginning of the trek and the first killing frost determined the 
date of the journey back home. Though there were variations 

120 The North Carolina Historical Review 

in the schedule according to seasons and localities, many of the 
families escaped in May and did not feel it safe to return until 

While a number of inlanders migrated to Charleston at the be- 
ginning of the "sickly season," some of the residents of that city 
in turn moved to the sea islands to escape the "pestilential heat 
and poisonous mosquitoes, in the hot, "stinking" city by the sea. 
Sullivan's Island, Mount Pleasant, Edisto, and St. Helena islands 
were among the favored resorts. There were also those who 
"resorted" to Newport, Rhode Island, as early as 1765. 

According to Dr. Brewster, many families sought to escape 
malaria by moving only a few miles away to the dry, sandy soil 
of the pine-barrens. Summerville appealed to visitors during 
the first decade of the nineteenth century and had grown large 
enough to be incorporated by 1837. Life in the pineland villages 
seems to have followed a more or less regular pattern, for, as the 
author puts it, "Everybody knew everybody else, and, having 
little else to do went to see everybody else every day and at all 
hours. Sociability became almost oppressive until one got used 
to it . . ." The volume reads almost like a social register, for 
the author has included literally hundreds of names of well known 
South Carolina families, such as the Allstons, Balls, Calhouns, 
Du Boses, Heywards, Middletons, Pinckneys, and Ravenels. 

Low-country planters discovered the up-country as a health 
resort quite early and frequented such places as Pendleton, Spar- 
tanburg, Greenville, and Winnsboro. They helped to secure 
better roads, stage lines, inns, churches, and schools for these 
fairly distant localities. Although in those days a distance of 
thirty-six miles from Greenville, South Carolina, to Flat Rock, 
North Carolina, was a long day's journey, some of the hardier 
folk made the trip and were repaid in the enjoyment of the cool 
breezes and magnificent scenery of the mountain region. 

"Ho ! For the Spring" is the title of Chapter V of Dr. Brewster's 
book. Here he lists some of the little known and a few of the 
more famous watering places, such as Spring Hill, Glenn Springs, 
and Chick Springs, but states that many South Carolinians 
seemed to prefer the resorts of North Carolina, Virginia, and 
New York. Some of the springs bore such enticing names as 

Book Reviews 121 

Warm, Hot, Red, Gray, Salt, and White Sulphur, but the author 
does not comment on whether these names were indications of 
temperature and mineral content of the water or merely desig- 
nations for advertising purposes. 

Dr. Brewster makes no attempt to write, as Perceval Reniers 
does in The Springs of Virginia, of "Life, Love, and Death at the 
Waters." One could wish that he had characterized some of the 
outstanding individuals who migrated, had given additional de- 
tails as to size of quarters and entertainment offered, had added 
appropriate illustrations in black and white or in color, and had 
included stories of the "doing's and going's on" at the resort 

As is fitting for the Historical Papers of the Trinity College 
Historical Society, this work is thoroughly documented. The au- 
thor in his researches used memoirs, proceedings, travelers' jour- 
nals, private papers, church records, South Carolina statutes, 
and contemporary newspapers, as well as numerous secondary 
source materials. Carefully done, concisely and objectively writ- 
ten, this book serves the purpose for which it was intended and 
might well form the basis for a more detailed study of the South 
Carolina resorts of the period. 

Nell Hines. 

State Department of Archives and History, 
Raleigh, N. C. 

Georgia: A Short History. By E. Merton Coulter. (Chapel Hill: The Uni- 
versity of North Carolina Press, 1947. Pp. xii, 510. $4.50.) 

This work is a revision of Professor Coulter's A Short History 
of Georgia, published by the University of North Carolina Press 
in 1933. The number and titles of the chapters are the same in 
the two works. There is some rearrangement of materials deal- 
ing with the consolidation of the state government following the 
Revolution and the ratification of the federal Constitution. 
The chapter on the period since the First World War has been 
extended from five pages to twenty-two pages. There are nu- 
merous minor emendations, and some general interpretations 
have been strengthened by the use of additional illustrative ma- 
terial. This latter change is especially noticeable in the treat- 

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122 The North Carolina Historical Review 

merit of colonial society and trade relations, the propaganda of 
the Revolution, and ante-bellum publications. 

The colonial, revolutionary, and early federal periods are 
presented in unified narrative form. This part of the book ab- 
sorbs fifteen of the thirty-one chapters and culminates in an 
excellent treatment of "Land Speculations and Settlements" at 
the end of the eighteenth century. In the sixteenth chapter a 
shift is made to a topical arrangement which presents in succes- 
sion federal relations, Indian affairs, party politics, transporta- 
tion, social and economic structure, and cultural development 
during the ante-bellum period. The treatment of this period 
comes to a high point in two chapters dealing with Georgia's 
identification with extreme southern thought and the resulting 
secession from the Federal Union. Four chapters on the twenty- 
five years of civil war and reconstruction leave an equal number 
for the seventy years since 1876. 

The most interesting and valuable feature of this work is the 
bold and lucid interpretation given to many controversial inci- 
dents in Georgia history that impinge upon the history of the 
nation. Professor Coulter states that Georgia was never a 
debtors' colony, since the rigid tests by the trustees prohibited 
the acceptance of most debtors as colonists. South Carolinians 
welcomed the colony as a buffer against the Spaniards, but be- 
came intensely jealous when the Indian trade began shifting to 
Savannah and Augusta. Georgia was the pet of the British 
mercantilists, many of the older colonists were loyal to the king, 
and Georgia might have been saved to the British Empire but for 
the agitation by leaders from other colonies and the hot-headed 
anger of the young men who were aspiring to political leadership. 
There were three classes in the white population of antebellum 
Georgia, and the "poor white trash" made up less than a fourth 
of the total. Andersonville was a tragedy, but the resulting suf- 
fering and deaths were "from causes over which the Confederacy 
had little control" (p. 339). Presidential reconstruction was 
accepted in good faith, and its repudiation by Congress brought 
undue punishment to a state whose social and economic structure 
had been completely disrupted by war. After reconstruction the 
history of the state merged with that of the section and finally 

Book Reviews 


with that of the nation, thus becoming of relatively less impor- 
tance per se. 

There is little in the presentation of these and other items that 
can give comfort to the professional controversialist. Historical 
evidence and so-called sober fact are mingled in each case into an 
overall pattern that requires no special pleading. Technical his- 
torians who have done some research in one or another of the 
questionable areas may object that the gullible reader is being 
led into the quicksands where only the trained investigator is safe 
from erroneous conceptions. By this treatment, however, the 
reader escapes the multitude of closely guarded hypotheses which 
could have stretched the volume out to double its length without 
any corresponding increase in usefulness to the elementary stu- 
dent or general reader. 

The shifts back and forth between chronological narrative and 
topical arrangement militate against smooth reading. A more 
thorough digesting of materials since the eighteenth century 
could have brought improvement here and eliminated some minor 
errors. Wilson Lumpkin was elected governor in 1831 as the 
nominee of the Union party and not as "Troup man" (p. 246). 
The Union-Democratic party during the eighteen-thirties sup- 
ported broad suffrage and liberal action by the state in public 
education and prison reform; it did not become a "conservative 
party" (p. 247) until it had absorbed the leadership of the Whigs 
in the fifties. 

It is hard to reconcile the presentation of the Civil War as a 
major revolution in the social and economic structure of the state 
with the bland dismissal of the period since reconstruction as an 
inconsequential era in state development. This work presents 
good pen portraits of Eugene Talmadge and Ellis Arnall and 
analyzes their respective policies from the standpoint of imme- 
diate political issues. For the historical development of the 
social and economic cleavages that must have created these issues 
the reader must depend on his own deductions. Nor is there any 
attempt to explain the effect of greater nationalization on life in 
Georgia or to contrast that life with conditions preceding the 
Civil War. It is to be regretted that the boldness of interpreta- 
tion so evident in other sections of the work is not apparent in the 
final chapters. Such a course must have provoked some contro- 

124 The North Carolina Historical Review 

versy in historical as well as political circles, but it might have 
also provided the spark of inspiration for a definite study in 
this field. 

There are lists of page references to most of the reliable works 
for the various chapters. Most of the periodical articles listed 
in the original edition are omitted, but monographs published 
since 1933 are included in these lists. The index is adequate. 
Less than half a dozen errors in spelling and sentence structure 
mar an otherwise perfect editorial product. 

Paul Murray. 

East Carolina Teachers College, 
Greenville, N. C. 

The British Development of West Florida, 1763-1769. By Clinton N. Howard. 
(Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press, 1947. 
Pp. ix, 166. $3.00.) 

In recent years the British colonies of East and West Florida 
have been rescued from near obscurity by the able and compre- 
hensive studies of Charles L. Mowat (East Florida As a British 
Province, 17 '63-17 '8 %) and Cecil Johnson (British West Florida, 

The present volume adds little of historical value to the earlier 
study of West Florida. In less than fifty pages, the author traces 
the colonization of North America from 1492 to 1763, describes 
the inauguration of British rule in West Florida under the mili- 
tary government, and portrays the problems and work of the 
colonial governor in relation to the military establishment, the 
council, and the first assembly. The conclusions reached in the 
preface and on page forty-seven have so little in common with 
the text that the reader is left in doubt as to the purpose of the 

More than one half of the volume is devoted to miscellaneous 
documents which include a list of land grants made by the council 
of West Florida from December 19, 1764, through February 24, 
1769 ; letters and papers of Governor George Johnstone ; a list of 
the acts of the first assembly ; financial statements ; and two let- 
ters of Lieutenant Governor Montfort Browne, one of which 
relates to the Spanish trade and the other to the evils of absentee 
officeholding. The section on land grants is the result of careful 

Book Reviews 125 

research. It gives the names of the petitioners, the locations of 

the lands desired, the reasons advanced by the petitioners, and 

the decisions of the council. Good footnotes further enhance 

its usefulness. It should be held in mind, however, that these 

land grants had little effect on the development of West Florida 

since few of the grantees occupied and developed their holdings. 

Three maps, full notes, and an excellent index contribute to 

the value of the book. 

Rembert W. Patrick. 

University of Florida, 
Gainesville, Fla. 

The Civil War Letters of Sergeant Onley Andrus. Edited by Fred Albert 
Shannon. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1947. Pp. 147. $1.50.) 

Onley Andrus was a member of the Ninety-fifth Illinois Regi- 
ment of Infantry Volunteers. Most of the letters here presented 
were written by him to his wife, Mary Andrus, at irregular inter- 
vals from September 3, 1862, to May 22, 1865. With the excep- 
tion of one short furlough Andrus was in service with his regi- 
ment throughout this entire period. To a non-military reader 
the regiment seems to have engaged in an inordinate amount of 
moving in proportion to its active fighting. The small amount 
of actual fighting, however, was one thing about which this 
soldier of the ranks made no complaint. Food, shelter, relations 
with superior officers, and speculation as to the next move ab- 
sorbed most of his writing not given over to personal and family 
affairs. His attitude on all these varied a great deal with the 
circumstances of each day of "this cruel war." On two things 
he was completely consistent : he insisted repeatedly that money 
must be saved from his pay and bounties to establish his family 
in a home; he was equally determined that the war should con- 
tinue until the "rebellion" was crushed. 

Professor Shannon has done a meticulous job of collateral 
research in identifying names and places mentioned. A map of 
the Mississippi River region shows the itinerary of the regiment 
for the entire period, and an index of nine pages facilitates the 
use of the volume for reference. It is interesting again to the 
non-military reader that the editor is no kinder in his remarks 
on Grant and the high command than Andrus was in his stric- 

126 The North Carolina Historical Review 

tures on his "star-chasing' ' commanding officers. Altogether, 
the publication is of interest to students of the Civil War in giv- 
ing the unvarnished reaction of the common soldier who was 
interested in winning the war and saving his own skin. 

Paul Murray. 

East Carolina Teachers College, 
Greenville, N. C. 

The Indians of the Southeastern United States. By John R. Swanton. 
Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 137. 
(Washington, D. C: Government Printing Office, 1946.) 

Undoubtedly the foremost authority on the Indians of the 
southeastern United States is Dr. John R. Swanton, who has 
retired after long service in the Bureau of American Ethnology. 
Dr. Swanton's scholarly work touched many tribes and many 
regions of the United States, but his master work has been the 
study of the Southeast and its early inhabitants. His earlier 
publication, Early History of the Creek Indians and their Neigh- 
bors, has served a guide for students of the Indians of the South- 
east, with supplementary material in various other studies he has 
published. Now in his last contribution he has summed up in a 
book of more than 1,000 pages the ethnological and historical 
material of the Indians of the Southeast. 

With his accustomed scholarly care Dr. Swanton has gone fully 
into every detail and furnishes an encyclopedia of information 
about the aborigines of the area under investigation. The vari- 
ous tribes are noted with historical accuracy and their manner 
of living is given in elaboration. In his study he has assembled 
the references to the Indians. Tribal organization, economic 
affairs, architecture, clothing, food, weapons, cradles, tattooing, 
and hundreds of other subjects are treated, including cushions, 
and towels and soap. The labor of many years has borne fruit 
in this full, rich volume of ethnological and historical value. 
References and index are carefully arranged and serve as a help 
for research. 

Illustrations include plates to the number of 107 and give a 
remarkably well chosen selection of subjects for illustration. 
Among the illustrations may be noted one that has paraded in 

Book Reviews 127 

several volumes as "John Ross, Chief of the Cherokees," which 
Dr. Swanton has presented as "Ben Perryman, a Prominent 
Creek Indian." 

To Dr. Swanton, living in retirement in Newton, Massachu- 
setts, the southeastern states pay tribute for this monumental 
work and for his other valuable contributions to knowledge of 
the Indians of the Southeast. 

Douglas L. Rights. 

Winston-Salem, N. C. 

Thomas Jefferson and the National Capital. Edited by Saul K. Padover. 
Washington: Government Printing Office, 1946. $1.75.) 

This is a volume of letters to and from Jefferson, contemporary 
notes, reports, memoranda, resolutions, proclamations, and presi- 
dential messages to Congress illustrating Jefferson's influential 
role in the founding and building of the national capital. There 
are very few editorial notes and comments. 

The collection stands as additional proof of the unique value 
of source materials. Almost every paper presented has for the 
reader that warm human interest that makes it linger in the 
memory. Each letter reveals not merely the author's problem 
and purpose, but also the contemporary atmosphere, the existing 
conditions significant for us but then taken for granted, and the 
very mind and character of the author. The richness of these 
materials can be appreciated when we find the previously pub- 
lished secondary works on the subject frequently taking a ten- 
line paragraph of Jefferson's and stretching it out into two or 
three pages of discussion — with no improvement over Jefferson's 

The book is not intended to cover the entire story of the early 
days of the capital. It gives but a faint echo of the long, fierce 
controversy in Congress — the real seat of authority. The contri- 
bution of other statesmen is not fully portrayed. This is especi- 
ally true of Washington, whose towering prestige more than the 
bargaining of Jefferson and Hamilton brought the capital to the 
bank of the Potomac. Gaps occur in the record for the periods 
when Jefferson was out of the country or out of the government. 
The introduction refers to Jefferson's Vice Presidency, 1797-1801, 

128 The North Carolina Historical Review 

as one of the periods of his activity in establishing the capital, 
yet the volume has but little over seven pages on the seven years 
between 1793 and 1801. 

This book will add considerably to a fuller understanding of 
Jefferson, even though no hitherto unknown facet is presented. 
The accumulation of difficulties in laying out the design of the 
city of Washington and constructing the public buildings was 
appalling: the unreconciled opposition in Congress and the re- 
sulting niggardly appropriations, insubordinate officials, bad 
tempers, incompetent architects whose plans led to delays, revi- 
sions, and unnecessary expense, scarcity of proper materials and 
efficient workmen, roofs with leaks that seemed to defy all re- 
pairs, dry-rotted timbers which by 1808 created an imminent 
danger that the Senate chamber and the President's house would 
fall in, stained ceilings, sinking floors, and a stream of petty 
grievances from workmen, merchants, and householders whose 
sense of modesty, if any, did not restrain them from laying their 
cases before the Secretary of State or the President of the United 

In spite of all these obstacles, Jefferson pursued his momentous 
task with patience and diligence, with fairness and firmness, 
revealing a broad understanding of human nature, a wise and 
tactful procedure, and a proper degree of toleration of the frail- 
ties of his fellowman. The book will bring delight to every 
reader who admires character, ability, and integrity in the men 
who shape the destinies of the state. 

Gilbert L. Lycan. 

John B. Stetson University, 
Deland, Fla. 

The Pioneer Lawyer and Jurist in Missouri. By William Francis English. 
(Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri, 1947. Pp. 144. $1.50.) 

This study embraces somewhat more than its title indicates, 
for it treats the history of law and courts as well as of lawyers 
and judges in the early stages of Missouri history. The discus- 
sion of legal history centers about two conflicts. The first of 
these occurred when American immigrants, pouring into Mis- 
souri soon after the Louisiana purchase, brought Anglo-American 
ideas of law that were at variance with the French and Spanish 

Book Reviews 129 

legal traditions of the earlier settlers. Naturally, the victory- 
lay with the flood tide of immigrants from the East. 

The second conflict was chiefly over procedure. On the one 
hand, the frontier layman wanted legal decisions to reflect com- 
munity opinion ; and he wanted to destroy, and for a brief period 
he did destroy, all the subtleties and intricacies of common law 
pleading. Naturally, the better trained and more experienced 
of the lawyers and jurists strongly objected, though they had to 
accept a simplified code of procedure in civil cases in 1849. It is 
worth noting that this concession to frontier attitudes came after 
many years of tension. It was not written into Missouri law 
until Missouri society had lost many of its frontier charac- 

In describing the characteristics and activities of pioneer law- 
yers and jurists in Missouri, Mr. English presents a wealth of 
detail about their eastern origins, their training or lack of it, their 
experiences while riding the circuit and in court, their economic 
and political accomplishments, and their promotion of education, 
newspapers, and other public enterprises. While somewhat more 
of generalization and of interpretation would have been welcome, 
we are grateful for the careful and extensive research of this 
study. The proofreading was carelessly done, and the index is 


Charles S. Sydnor. 

Duke University, 
Durham, N. C. 

Wilson: The Road to the White House. By Arthur S. Link. (Princeton: 
Princeton University Press, 1947. Pp. 570. $5.00.) 

This volume, the first in a proposed series, covers Wilson's heri- 
tage and early life ; his experiences at Princeton ; his election and 
governorship of New Jersey; and his election as President of 
the United States in 1912. Some readers, especially some of the 
Princeton alumni who were his students, may regret that more 
space was not given to Wilson, the teacher; and for those who 
have no interest in politics the work has little to offer. This is 
definitely a political biography. Other phases of life are ignored. 
Important persons in other fields are but pale skeletons among 

130 The North Carolina Historical Review 

the politicians who play the significant roles in the shaping of the 
country's destiny. 

Dr. Link finds little in the early life of Wilson to indicate un- 
usual ability. He did inherit from the South many of the preju- 
dices which helped to make him a strong conservative at first and 
to prevent him from later becoming a thorough-going liberal. 
Wilson's life at Princeton, where he rose from professor to presi- 
dent of the University, was filled with school politics. The strug- 
gles over the preceptorial system, the quadrangle plan, and finally 
the location of the graduate school led him through popularity 
and disparagement. But out of these struggles came two impor- 
tant assets : national recognition and the ability to hold his own 
in a tough political battle. 

The wide attention given to the Princeton incidents was a fac- 
tor in George Harvey's decision to select Wilson as a Democratic 
candidate for President of the United States. As a stepping- 
stone to this he was run for governor of New Jersey. Assisted 
by James Smith, Democratic boss of New Jersey, and his hench- 
men, Wilson won the nomination, after which he broke with the 
Smith machine and built up his own party group, which included 
many liberals of the time. 

Wilson's evolutionary change from conservatism to liberalism 
is one of the main themes of this study. Beginning as a strong 
conservative, which Professor Link attributes to a southern heri- 
tage, he so modified his ideas that he became the favored candi- 
date of many liberals in the presidential election of 1912. In 
fact, he vacillated so much that his biographer has said, "Any 
evaluation of Woodrow Wilson's place in American history de- 
mands an exercise in reconciling a number of apparent contra- 
dictions." 1 

The author shatters some of the prevailing notions about Wil- 
son. His campaigns were not won without the aid of the bosses, 
yet he retained his independence to the extent that he could hon- 
estly say at the end of the campaign, "Nobody owns me" (p. 527) . 
And nothing "could be farther from the truth" than the statement 
that House was President-maker in 1910-11 (pp. 334-35). Al- 
though William Jennings Bryan's part in the Baltimore conven- 

lArthur S. Link, "The Enigma of Woodrow Wilson," The American Mercury, September, 

Book Reviews 131 

tion is not to be entirely discredited, it should be recognized as 
only one of many contributing factors in the nomination of Wil- 
son, who was indebted to many state bosses, newspaper men, and 
a host of followers of varying political views. 

In the face of the penetrating evaluation generally employed 
in this study, it is surprising to find that circumstantial evidence 
has been used to quarrel with Wilson, because he failed to give 
credit- to articles and editorials of the Nation for the idea that 
Cabinet members should have seats in Congress. The author 
concludes that Wilson derived his ideas and was probably prompt- 
ed to write "Cabinet Government in the United States" from such 
readings. Although he has noted the effect of a southern heri- 
tage upon his attitude in other instances, here he completely 
ignores the probability that Wilson was influenced by that section 
of the Confederate Constitution which provided that Congress 
might "grant to the principal officer in each of the Executive 
Departments a seat upon the floor of either house, with the privi- 
lege of discussing any measure appertaining to his department." 

Wilson: the Road to the White House is a meticulous, scholarly 
work and is markedly objective in viewpoint. Profitable use 
has been made of previously published writings and much new 
material has been added. The wide use of rare contemporary 
newspapers is especially praiseworthy. The style is lucid and 
vigorous, but not exceptional. This volume will undoubtedly 
find a warm welcome from all students of the life of Wilson. It 
will also serve as an excellent study in party politics. 

Alice B. Keith. 

Meredith College, 
Raleigh, N. C. 

Twelfth Annual Report of the Archivist of the United States for the 
Year Ending June 30, 1946, The National Archives Publication 47-4. (Wash- 
ington, D. C: The United States Government Printing Office, 1947. Pp. v, 99.) 

This is more than an annual report to Congress. The author 
has given a resume of the impact of the war upon the Archives 
and has reviewed the functions of the institution itself. A long 
introduction emphasizes the tremendous increase of records as a 
result of World War II. The main body of the Report deals with 
the work of the Archives under topic headings such as ''Records 

132 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Administration," "Disposal of Records," "Accessioning of Rec- 
ords," "Preservation of Records," "Analysis and Description of 
Records," and "Reference Service." Additional information, 
including a list of record groups, is given in appendices. 

Many pre-war records, received from agencies of the govern- 
ment, together with the 10,000,000 cubic feet from the war, have 
greatly enriched the stores of the Archives. The unprecedented 
expansion has, however, multiplied the problems of the archivists. 
These records must be protected from mold, mildew, insects, 
rodents, and thieves ; and the disposal of useless records, in order 
to make useable materials available, calls for skilled workers. 
In spite of their enlarged duties, the archivists have been able 
to carry on most of the routine work, to give extensive war ser- 
vices at home and abroad, and to add some new methods and tech- 
niques to their own performances. Unfortunately, some impor- 
tant functions have of necessity been left undone and peace has 
brought new demands. Increased personnel and more storage 
space are imperative needs. 

In this reviewer's opinion the Report may be read with profit 
by the average citizen as well as by the historical searcher. Un- 
fortunately much of its potential value is lost because of the style 
of writing. Excessive wordiness, vagueness, and long compli- 
cated sentences serve to confuse the reader. Two examples will 
illustrate this weakness : 

Statutes prohibit the use of such records in any case to obtain data about 
particular persons or companies; elaborate statistical analyses were made in 
the course of operations and these will be preserved; certain bodies of sta- 
tistical data were turned over to other agencies for even further exploitation; 
and, finally, their volume is so great that no future investigator could hope to 
make effective use of them unless he came around with a formidable grant 
and batteries of clerks and punch-card machines (p. 4). 

Authorization for scheduling, obtained in the Disposal Act of 1943, was a 
major step toward making disposal a tool for the long-range control of records, 
for schedules may propose the disposal, after a specified length of time, of 
records either in existence or yet to accumulate, that lack enduring value 
(P. 13). 

A report should be marked by clarity and conciseness in writ- 
ing. The Archivist's Report could be strengthened by centering 
the discussions of particular subjects under the topical headings 
designed for them. Alice B. Keith. 

Meredith College, 
Raleigh, N. C. 


On October 5-11 Goldsboro celebrated its centennial. A pa- 
rade, public speaking, and a pageant, "A Century on Review/' 
were the main features of the celebration. Mr. Henry Howard 
Eddy, Miss Frances Harmon, Miss Nell Hines, Mrs. Joye E. 
Jordan, Miss Manora Mewborn, and Miss Dorothy Reynolds of 
the State Department of Archives and History attended some of 
the features. 

Rev. Andrew J. Howell, pastor emeritus of Pearsall Memorial 
Presbyterian Church and county historian of New Hanover, died 
on October 6. Mr. Howell was greatly interested in the history 
of the southeastern section of North Carolina. 

On October 15 a movement for the restoration of the old St. 
John's Episcopal Church at Williamsboro, North Carolina, which 
was built in 1757, was launched by the leaders of the North 
Carolina Episcopal Diocese. Dr. Lawrence F. London, the his- 
toriographer of the diocese, addressed the organizational meeting 
launching the movement. 

On October 18 Coble's Lutheran Church, near Julian, cele- 
brated the 135th anniversary of the founding of the church. Dr. 
P. W. Monroe, president of the Lenoir-Rhyne College, made the 
principal address. 

The Historical Society of North Carolina held its regular fall 
meeting at Davidson College on the afternoon and evening of 
Saturday, October 25, 1947. Dr. W. P. Cumming of Davidson 
College read a paper on "Crucial Carolina Cartography." Dr. 
Archibald Henderson, of the University of North Carolina, de- 
livered the presidential address on "Joseph Seawell Jones, First 
Native Historian of North Carolina." Officers for the next year 
were elected as follows : Dr. Adelaide L. Fries, Winston-Salem, 
president; Dr. Christopher Crittenden, of the North Carolina 
State Department of Archives and History, vice-president; and 
Dr. C. C. Pearson of Wake Forest College and Mrs. Hope Cham- 



The North Carolina Historical Review 

berlain, members of the council. Dr. Cecil Johnson of the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina was reelected secretary-treasurer. 

Professors Loren C. MacKinney, Fletcher M. Green, and How- 
ard K. Beale of the history department of the University of North 
Carolina and Dr. Christopher Crittenden, director of the State 
Department of Archives and History, attended the annual meet- 
ing of the American Historical Association in Cleveland, Ohio, 
December 27, 28, and 29. Dr. Green read a paper, "Some As- 
pects of the Convict Lease System in the Southern States." 

Mr. Frank W. Klingberg of the University of California at Los 
Angeles has accepted a position as assistant professor of history 
at the University of North Carolina for the year 1948-1949. 

Dr. Howard K. Beale of the University of North Carolina has 
resigned, effective September 1, 1948, to accept a position as pro- 
fessor of history at the University of Wisconsin. 

Dr. Cecil Johnson of the University of North Carolina will 
be at the University of New Mexico this summer as visiting pro- 
fessor of history. 

Mr. William M. Geer of the University of North Carolina is on 
leave of absence from the history department to serve as research 
associate in the Institute for Research in Social Science, writing 
a biography of 0. Max Gardner, former governor of North 

Mr. Manning C. Voorhis of the University of North Carolina 
has resigned from the position of assistant professor of history to 
return to Randolph-Macon College. 

Dr. Wallace E. Caldwell of the University of North Carolina 
attended the American Institute of Archaeology which met in 
December, 1947, in New Haven, Conn. 

Mr. Eugene W. Davis of the University of North Carolina, 
graduate student and candidate for the Ph.D. degree in 1948, 

Historical News 135 

has accepted the position of instructor at Trinity College, Hart- 
ford, Conn. 

Mr. Dewey W. Grantham, Jr., graduate student of the Univer- 
sity of North Carolina, has published an article entitled "South- 
ern Congressional Leaders and the New Freedom, 1913-1917," in 
The Journal of Southern History, vol. XIII, no. 4, (November, 

The Southern Historical Association held its thirteenth annual 
meeting in Savannah, Georgia, November 13, 14, and 15. Dr. 
Frontis W. Johnston of Davidson College read a paper entitled 
"Zebulon B. Vance" at the session discussing the subject, "Three 
Southern Political Leaders." Dr. Philip M. Rice of the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina read a paper entitled, "The Virginia 
Board of Public Works, 1816-1842," at the session which dealt 
with southern economic history. Dr. Fletcher M. Green of the 
University of North Carolina presided over the meeting in which 
was discussed "An Appraisal of the Ph.D. Training Program: 
Round Table Discussion/' Dr. James T. Godfrey of the Univer- 
sity of North Carolina appeared on the program dealing with 
"Modern Diplomacy ; World Problems in the Twentieth Century." 
The subject of his paper was "The British Labor Party and Re- 
cent Foreign Policy." Dr. Howard K. Beale of the University 
of North Carolina led a discussion on the subject "Negro Disfran- 
chisement Conventions of the 1890 , s." The following persons 
from North Carolina attended the meeting: Frontis W. John- 
ston, Davidson College ; Robert W. Barnwell, Jr., Salem College ; 
Alice B. Keith and Mrs. Lillian P. Wallace, Meredith Col- 
lege; Ruth Blackwelder, Lenoir-Rhyne College; Lawrence F. 
Brewster and Herbert H. Coleman, East Carolina Teachers Col- 
lege; Elizabeth Cometti, Woman's College of the University of 
North Carolina; Rosser H. Taylor, Western Carolina Teachers 
College; Paul H. Clyde, William B. Hamilton, Ernest W. Nelson, 
and Charles S. Sydnor, Duke University; Charles M. Brown, 
Charles F. Kolb, Stuart Noblin, and James W. Patton, North 
Carolina State College; Howard K. Beale, Cornelius 0. Cathey, 
James P. Deavar, William M. Geer, James L. Godfrey, Fletcher 
M. Green, Cecil Johnson, Hugh T. Lefler, Lawrence F. London, 

136 The North Carolina Historical Review 

A. R. Newsome, Philip M. Rice, John L. Sanders, J. Carlyle Sit- 
terson, James D. Smith, and Manning Voorhis of the University 
of North Carolina; W. D. Cotton of Mars Hill College; Christo- 
pher Crittenden, D. L. Corbitt, W. F. Burton, Henry H. Eddy, 
and Nell Hines of the State Department of Archives and History. 

The State Literary and Historical Association held its forty- 
seventh annual session in Raleigh on December 1. The morning 
session consisted of the following papers: "North Carolina 
Short Stories," by Richard Walser of Raleigh; "The Valley of 
the Scots," by Malcolm Fowler of Lillington; "John Gray and 
Thomas Blount, Merchants, 1783-1800," by Alice B. Keith; and 
"Review of North Carolina Books and Authors of the Year," by 
Lodwick Hartley of Raleigh. After these papers were delivered 
the officers for the new year were elected. Dr. Alice Baldwin 
of Duke University, president ; Mr. Robert Lee Humber of Green- 
ville, Dr. Guion G. Johnson of Chapel Hill, and Mr. James Larkin 
Pearson of Guilford College, vice-presidents ; and Dr. Christopher 
Crittenden of Raleigh, secretary-treasurer. A luncheon meeting 
was held at the Woman's Club at which time Dr. Hardin Craig 
of Chapel Hill delivered an address entitled "The Discovery of 
Freedom." At the evening session the Mayflower Cup was 
awarded by Mr. Ralph B. Coit of Greensboro, governor of the 
Society of the Mayflower descendants in North Carolina, to 
Dr. Robert E. Coker of Chapel Hill for his book entitled "The 
Great Wide Sea," which had been adjudged the best book pub- 
lished by a resident North Carolinian during the year. Dr. 
Carlyle Campbell of Raleigh, president of the association, brought 
greetings and Dr. Julian P. Boyd, librarian of Princeton Univer- 
sity, delivered the principal address entitled, "Thomas Jefferson 
and the Police State." Following this address a reception was 
held to members and guests of the association. 

The Archaeological Society of North Carolina held its annual 
session in Raleigh on December 5. Dr. Sylvester Green of Dur- 
ham read a paper entitled, "Possible Influence of the Society in 
North Carolina," and Mr. H. M. Doerschuk of Badin read a paper 
entitled, "Archaeological Investigations on the Yadkin River." 
At the business meeting the following officers were elected : Mr. 

Historical News 137 

H. M. Doerschuk of Badin, president; Dr. I. Hardin Hughes of 
Raleigh, vice-president; Dr. Raymond Adams of Chapel Hill, 
secretary-treasurer; and Rev. Douglas L. Rights of Winston- 
Salem, editor. 

The North Carolina Folk-Lore Society held its thirty-sixth 
annual session in Raleigh, December 5. The program consisted 
of the following: "South Mountain Folk," by B. E. Washburn of 
Rutherf ordton ; "Mountain Ballards and Dances," by Lamar 
Lunsford of Asheville; and "Indian Ceremonial Pictures and 
Mexican Folksongs from New Mexico," by Ralph S. Boggs of 
Chapel Hill. At the business meeting the following officers were 
elected for the coming year : Dr. Newman I. White of Durham, 
president; R. Richard Jente of Chapel Hill, Cratis D. Williams 
of Boone and B. E. Washburn of Rutherf ordton, vice-presidents; 
and Dr. A. P. Hudson of Chapel Hill, secretary-treasurer. 

The North Carolina Society of County Historians held its an- 
nual business meeting in Raleigh on December 5. Mr. Malcolm 
Fowler of Lillington was elected president succeeding Dr. D. T. 
Smith wick of Louisburg. Mr. Willis G. Briggs of Raleigh was 
elected vice-president and Mr. W. B. Covington of Rockingham 
was elected honorary president. Plans for continuing the county 
tours were discussed. 

The North Carolina Society for the Preservation of Antiqui- 
ties held its seventh annual meeting in Raleigh, December 4. The 
program for the evening session was as follows : Mrs. Charles 
A. Cannon, president, brought greetings and Mr. Paul Green of 
Chapel Hill presented life membership certificates. Mrs. James 
A. Gray of Winston-Salem discussed the restoration of the 
Fourth House in old Salem by the North Carolina Society of 
Colonial Dames. Mrs. E. Dillard Reynolds of Winston-Salem 
told of the restoration of the Tavern by the Wachovia Historical 
Society. Dr. Adelaide L. Fries read a paper on "The Genealogy 
of Salem Lots." Dr. Howard E. Rondthaler spoke on the efforts 
to restore old Salem. Rev. Douglas L. Rights talked on "Our 
Goodly Heritage" and presided at the session. 

At the business session the following officers were elected: 
Mrs. Charles A. Cannon of Concord, president; Mrs. Inglis 


The North Carolina Historical Review 

Fletcher of Edenton, vice-president; and Mrs. Ernest A. Branch 
of Raleigh, secretary-treasurer. The district vice-presidents 
elected are as follows: Mrs. Sam Clarke of Edenton, first con- 
gressional district ; Mrs. Katherine Pendleton Arrington of War- 
renton, second congressional district; Mrs. R. N. Duffy of New 
Bern, third congressional district; Mrs. Charles Lee Smith of 
Raleigh, fourth congressonal district ; Mrs. Gordon Gray of Win- 
ston-Salem, fifth congressional district; Mrs. John A. Kellen- 
berger of Greensboro, sixth congressional district; Mrs. J. Walter 
Williamson of Wilmington, seventh congressional district; Mr. 
George H. Maurice of Eagle Springs, eighth congressional dis- 
trict; Mrs. Lela H. Spillman of Statesville, ninth congressional 
district; Miss Julia C. Robertson of Charlotte, tenth congres- 
sional district; Mr. Ralph Erskine of Tryon, eleventh congres- 
sional district; and Mrs. Robert T. Cecil of Asheville, twelfth 
congressional district. 

The North Carolina State Art Society held its twenty-first 
annual session in Raleigh, December 3 and 4. Governor R. Gregg 
Cherry presided at the evening meeting and Mrs. Katherine Pen- 
dleton Arrington, president of the society, brought greetings. 
Mr. Paul Green of Chapel Hill gave a lecture entitled "The Art 
of Living in North Carolina." Mr. William H. Deitrick of Ra- 
leigh read a paper on the paintings from the Knoedler Galleries 
of New York which were on display, for Mr. William F. Davidson 
vice-president of the Knoedler Galleries, who was unable to at- 
tend the meeting. Governor Cherry presented checks to the per- 
sons who had received recognition for their exhibits. These 
checks were designated as purchase awards and were made to 
the following persons: Mr. Ben F. Williams of Lumberton, 
$200 for an oil painting entitled "Geanie" ; Mr. Earl Mueller of 
the Duke University faculty, $200 for an oil painting entitled 
"Mill End"; Mr. Claude Howell of Wilmington $200 for an oil 
painting entitled "Mending Nets" ; Mrs. Jenny Rembert of Chapel 
Hill $200 for an oil painting entitled "Morass" ; Mrs. Elizabeth 
Hamrick Mack of High Point, $100 for a water color painting 
entitled "Autumn"; and Mrs. Mary Leath Thomas of the Uni- 
versity of Georgia, $100 for a water color painting entitled 
"Mountain Corn." 

Historical News 139 

The regular business meeting of the Art Society was held on 
December 4, at which time Governor Cherry was reelected hon- 
orary president. Mrs. Arrington was reelected president. Miss 
Lucy Cherry Crisp of Raleigh was reelected executive secretary 
and art gallery director, and Mrs. James H. Cordon of Raleigh 
was reelected treasurer. The following vice-presidents were 
elected : Miss Katharine Morris of Raleigh for Eastern Carolina, 
Mr. John Allcott of Chapel Hill for Central Carolina, and Mrs. 
James H. Latham of Greensboro for Western Carolina. Reelected 
to membership on the executive committee were: Dr. Clarence 
Poe of Raleigh, chairman ; Mrs. Charles A. Cannon of Concord ; 
Mr. Robert Lee Humber of Greenville; and Mr. William H. 
Deitrick of Raleigh. Mr. Edwin Gill of Raleigh was elected a 
new member. 

The following were elected to the board of directors: Mr. 
Edwin Gill of Raleigh ; Mr. John Rembert of Chapel Hill ; Mrs. 
Henry M. London of Raleigh; Mrs. Isabelle Brown Henderson 
of Raleigh; Dr. Clarence Poe of Raleigh; Mr. Earl Meuller of 
Durham; Mrs. J. H. B. Moore of Greenville; and Mr. William H. 
Deitrick of Raleigh. 

Resolutions were passed expressing appreciation to the Gen- 
eral Assembly for the contingent appropriation of $1,000,000 for 
the establishment of a State Art Museum in Raleigh and recom- 
mending the establishment of a local museum in every county 
in the state. 

The Records of the Moravians in North Carolina (volume 7, 
1808-1822), edited by Dr. Adelaide L. Fries, archivist of the Mo- 
ravian Church in America, Southern Province, has just been pub- 
lished by the State Department of Archives and History. This 
volume is now available to libraries and to persons who are 
interested in this series and who will send their requests and a 
wrapping and mailing fee of 25 cents in coin or stamps to Mr. 
D. L. Corbitt, Head, Division of Publications, State Department 
of Archives and History, Raleigh, N. C. 

For the purpose of encouraging research in the history of the 
South, the United Daughters of the Confederacy are offering 
the Mrs. Simon Baruch University Prize of $1,000 to be awarded 


The North Carolina Historical Review 

biennially. The competition is limited to undergraduate and 
graduate students of the universities and standard colleges in 
the United States and those who shall have been students in such 
institutions within the preceding three calendar years, and proof 
of eligibility must be submitted with the manuscript. 

The award will be made for an unpublished monograph or 
essay of high merit in the field of southern history, preferably 
in or near the period of the Confederacy or bearing on the causes 
that led to the War Between the States. Any phase of life or 
policy may be treated. If no essay of high merit shall be submit- 
ted in any competition, the prize will not be awarded for the year. 

Essays must be scholarly in form and must be based, partly 
at least, upon source materials and properly documented. A 
bibliography should be appended. It is expected that essays will 
comprise not less than 10,000 words. In making the award the 
committee will consider the effectiveness of research, originality 
of thought, accuracy of statement, and excellence of style. All 
essays must be in by May 1, 1948. 

The prize will be paid in two installments of $500 each, the 
first at the time of the award, the second when the manuscript 
shall have been suitably printed. For further information write 
Mrs. I. B. McFarland, chairman, 25 Courtland Place, Houston 6, 

Dr. Archibald Henderson of the University of North Carolina 
at Chapel Hill requests information concerning the location of 
two original letters written to Willie P. Mangum in 1844. These 
letters were published by Dr. Stephen B. Weeks in Publications 
of the Southern History Association July 1, 1906, pp. 228-323 
and was written one by A. T. Davis, Nashville, December 3, 
1844 ; the other by George L. Lowden, Charleston, S. C, Decem- 
ber 16, 1844. Anyone knowing the location of these letters 
should write Dr. Henderson. 


Mr. Clifford Reginald Hinshaw, Jr., is an assistant professor 
of history at High Point College, High Point, North Carolina. 

Dr. Richard Bardolph is assistant professor of history at the 
Woman's College of the University of North Carolina, Greens- 
boro, North Carolina. 

Dr. Hugh Talmadge Lefler is a professor of history at the 
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

Mr. Hugh Buckner Johnston is historian for Wilson County, 
North Carolina, and a professor of English at the Institute Chi- 
leno Norteamericano de Cultura in Santiago, Chile. His perma- 
nent address is Wilson, North Carolina. 

The North Carolina 
Historical Review 

Volume XXV April, 1948 Number 2 



By B. H. Nelson 

The Negro of North Carolina has been the subject of consider- 
able study in recent years. Admirable studies have appeared 
on the ante-bellum period, 2 and some attention has been given to 
the post-Civil War period. 3 But no serious attempt has been 
made to study the Negro in North Carolina during the Civil War 
period. A complete record of the role which this state played in 
the Civil War and the problems which confronted her at home 
can never be constructed as long as the Negro population of the 
state is neglected. 

Every aspect of life in North Carolina was disturbed by the 
Civil War. State finances, commodity-supply, and labor organi- 
zation were completely disrupted. But more important to North 
Carolina, the Civil War threatened to undermine traditional leg- 
islative and social machinery, developed over a period of many 
decades, for the control of the Negro population of the state. 
Problems arose regarding "Negro control' ' during the first two 
years of the war which demanded immediate consideration. 
Union control of the coast and of some eastern counties after 
1862 and rumors of abolitionist activity in the state made the 
problem even more serious. 

In addition to considerations of controlling the Negro popula- 
tion, answered in part by the enactment of legislation and the 

1 This is the third of a series of articles by the author on the subject "The Negro in the 
Confederacy, 1861-1865." The first article, "Legislative Control of the Southern Free Negro, 
1861-1865," appeared in the Catholic Historical Review, XXXII (1946), 28-46, and the second, 
"Confederate Slave Impressment Legislation, 1861-1865," appeared in the Journal of Negro 
History, XXXI (1946), 392-410. 

2 James B. Browning, "The Negro in Ante-Bellum North Carolina," North Carolina His- 
torical Review, XV (1938), 18-46; John Hope Franklin, "The Free Negro in the Economic 
Life of Ante-Bellum North Carolina," North Carolina Historical Review, XIX (1942), 239- 
259, 359-375, and The Free Negro in North Carolina. The latter is a definitive study of the 
free Negro for the period 1790-1860. 

3 James B. Browning, "The North Carolina Black Codes," Journal of Negro History, XV 
(1930, 461-473; Roland McConnell, "The Negro in North Carolina," unpublished doctoral 
dissertation, New York University, 1945. 

[ 143 ] 

144 The North Carolina Historical Review 

organization of informal vigilance groups, a pressing need ap- 
peared to organize and utilize Negro labor in the best interests 
of the state and southern independence. Efforts to develop a 
workable policy in this respect resulted in hostility and antag- 
onism between state officials and slaveowners on the one hand, 
and between North Carolina and the Confederate government 
on the other. While the materials necessary for the study of 
some phases of the subject are grossly inadequate, state, execu- 
tive and legislative documents, municipal records, private collec- 
tions of letters, and newspapers make it possible to throw light 
on some aspects of the story of the Negro in North Carolina 
during the war years, 1861-1865. 

North Carolina differed in some significant respects from most 
of her sister slave states at the opening of the Civil War. Though 
her plantation system showed signs of transformation, if not 
disintegration, North Carolina ranked seventh in the size of her 
slave population and second in her free Negro population. 4 
Moreover, a large proportion of the Negro population, slave and 
free, was concentrated in the northern and eastern counties, 
areas most susceptible to attack and capture by Union forces. 
When the state cast her lot with the Confederacy in May, 1861, 
citizens of these counties became alarmed for fear that the war 
would result in the collapse of the machinery of "Negro control." 5 

Prior to 1835 North Carolina had been regarded as unusually 
liberal in her treatment of the Negro population. Some effort 
had been made to liberalize and "humanize" the slave code and 
to encourage the education of Negroes; free Negroes were per- 
mitted to vote for members of the state legislature. But the 
liberal element in the state which sponsored these policies "was 
easily shunted aside by the always dominant blood-and-iron 
group." 6 Between 1835 and 1860 protests of white citizens, 
combined with a growing conviction that the state was threatened 

* United States Census, Population, 1860, pp. 594-595. Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Ala- 
bama, South Carolina, and Louisiana had larger slave populations, but North Carolina's free 
Negro population of 30,463 was exceeded only by that of Virginia. 

6 In 1860 the slave populations, all above 5,000, of Granville, Halifax, Franklin, Wake, 
New Hanover, Northampton, Craven, Robeson, Cumberland, Beaufort, Orange, and Wayne 
counties were the largest in the state. Counties with free Negro populations of 1,000 or 
more were Halifax, Craven, Pasquotank, Wake, Robeson, Hertford, and Granville. United 
States Census, 1860, pp. 349-350. 

• Herbert Aptheker, American Negro Slave Revolts, p. 60; Robert Trimble, Slavery in the 
United State* of America (London, 1863), p. 6. 

Some Aspects of Negro Life in North Carolina 145 

with a wave of slave insurrections, were sufficient to eliminate 
most traces of liberal treatment for the Negro. The revised 
constitution of 1835 eliminated the free Negro voter; manu- 
mission was made more difficult. Protests of white citizens 
regarding the dangers inherent in the practice of loosely regu- 
lated "colored traders" reveal a growing sentiment in favor of 
tightening the machinery of control even before the actual open- 
ing of hostilities. 7 

During the three years immediately preceding the Civil War, 
North Carolina, just as other slaveholding states, was markedly 
concerned and uneasy over the prospects of slave uprisings. 
Contemporary accounts lead one to the conclusion that this 
uneasiness was general rather than localized. Moreover, many 
persons were convinced that any uprisings that did occur would 
be the product of "evil disposed, envious, intermeddling incen- 
diaries from the Northern States." 8 Governor John W. Ellis de- 
clared : 

Organized societies . . . have sent emissaries among us to incite 
insurrection and bloodshed. . . . But little more than a year ago [1859] 
an armed organization was deliberately planned and set on foot by 
political societies and men of high confidence at the North, for the 
purpose of heading and insurrection of slaves against their masters. 

North Carolina newspapers were particularly vigilant in call- 
ing the attention of the citizenry to prevalent insurrectionary 
tendencies. One such account stated : "Persons from the North 
who made too free with the Negro population" or who talked of 
freedom and "the wrongness of negroes working for white men" 
were driven from the state. 10 Some newspapers carried ac- 
counts of rumored poisonings of white families and of free Negro 
resistance to "patrolmen." Such accounts as these had their 

7 Franklin, "The Free Negro in the Economic Life of Ante-Bellum North Carolina," 
North Carolina Historical Review, XIX (1942), 247. 

8 James Dinkin, "The Negroes as Slaves," Southern Historical Society, Papers, XXXV 
(1907), 60. 

9 Message to the Assembly, 1860, Journal of the Senate, 1860-1861, pp. 37-38. 

10 Editorial, Charlotte Western Democrat, March 24, 1857; also issues of January 6, Feb- 
ruary 17, 1857. The same newspaper on November 10, 1857, carried an account of the jailing 
of a white man for attempting to run off with some slaves. While the prisoner intimated 
that "others were connected with him in the business," there is no way of knowing whether 
the prisoner was a northerner aiding slaves to escape or a "slave-stealer," a profitable 
enterprise in some slaveholding areas. 

146 The North Carolina Historical Review 

effect upon the readers. An editor of one newspaper reported : 
"Judge Lynch is spoken of with more freedom and a nearer 
approach to commendation than was probably ever heard before 
in our community." 11 The consensus of opinion was that the 
laws which had been enacted and the punishments provided were 
inadequate ; stronger, more drastic safeguards were demanded. 

With the approach of hostilities, it was inevitable that fear 
of Negro insurrection, mounting since 1857, should result in 
consideration of the matter by the General Assembly. That 
body was urged to take some action to prevent imminent insur- 
rection. "The negroes will know, too, that the war is waged on 
their account," warned one editor, "they [will] become restless 
and difficult to manage." 12 On December 5, 1860, Allen W. 
Wooton, a member of the house, called the attention of his col- 
leagues to arms in his and other counties "in an exposed condi- 
tion, standing about the Courthouse." 13 These, he urged, should 
be "taken care of" for fear that they fall into the hands of rebel- 
lious slaves and Abolitionists. 

The General Assembly enacted legislation on February 13 and 
May 11, 1861, in an effort to combat the allegedly growing ten- 
dency of the slave population toward insurrectionary excesses. 
Incendiary publications were the targets of the earlier enact- 
ment. This measure stated : "Persons bringing into the state or 
publishing or causing to be circulated in the State any publication, 
the evident tendency wherof is to cause slaves to become dis- 
content with the bondage in which they are held by their masters, 
and the laws regulating the same, and free negroes to be dissatis- 
fied with their social status" were guilty of committing a fel- 
ony. 14 Conviction carried with- it a mandatory death penalty. 
A similar penalty was provided for attempts to incite rebellion. 
Conviction of the use of inflammatory language which "tended" 
to engender a rebellious spirit among slaves and free Negroes 
was made punishable by fine or imprisonment "at the discretion 

11 Charlotte Western Democrat, May 12, 1857. 

12 Raleigh North Carolina Standard, February 5, 1861. Similar fears were present in 
Texas and Louisiana during 1860-1861. Fayetteville Weekly Courier, September 8, 1860; 
Frank Moore, The Rebellion Record, I, 84. 

13 Charlotte North Carolina Whig, December 25, 1860; also Aptheker, Slave Revolts, pp. 94, 
840; Harvey Wish, "Slave Disloyalty under the Confederacy," Journal of Nearo History, 
XXIII (1938), 435, 440. 

" Public Laws, 1860-1861, pp. 39-41. 

Some Aspects op Negro Life in North Carolina 147 

of the Court." The law of May 11, 1861, appears to have been 
enacted for the purpose of clarifying the earlier measure. It 
provided the death penalty for "advising or conspiring" with 
slaves to rebel "whether or not insurrection takes place." 15 

These enactments against insurrection were not entirely sat- 
isfactory to some state legislators. In the legislative session of 
1862 efforts were made to put even stronger measures on the 
statute books. F. L. Sampson of Rockingham County called at- 
tention to alleged threats of slave revolts in that county. He 
urged the expediency of establishing a special police force for the 
protection of his constituents. The senate instructed the Joint 
Committee on Military Affairs to take the matter under consider- 
ation; but there is no record that such a police force was ever 
established under authority of the General Assembly. 16 

Late in 1864 popular fears of slave insurrection prompted 
the house to consider a final precautionary measure relating to 
threats of slave uprisings. This measure proposed the military 
exemption of all overseers on farms belonging to a female or 
minor when such overseers were the only white male adults on 
the farm. This proposal was defeated even with an amendment 
providing for the exemption of a single overseer on such farms. 
By 1864 scandalous exemptions in North Carolina, where exemp- 
tions exceeded those of any other Confederate state, had caused 
such a stir that no exemption measure stood much chance of 
enactment. 17 

North Carolina had enacted a series of laws by 1859 which, 
it was felt, would result in rigid control of the Negro population. 
This legislation applied to both the slave and the free Negro; it 
was designed to restrict the mobility of Negroes, to eliminate 
them from economic competition with the dependent classes of 
whites, and to establish safeguards against rebellious tendencies. 
Memorials from citizen groups and legislative resolutions fre- 

10 Public Laws, 1860-1861, p. 108. 

16 Journal of the Senate, 1862-186S, p. 39. Little further consideration appears to have 
been given to the subject of "Negro insurrection" during the war. However, a popular 
fear remained to haunt many North Carolinians into the Reconstruction period. See letter 
from W. F. Leak of Rockingham, J. G. deR Hamilton, Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, 
II, 964. 

17 Journal of the House, 1864, p. 91. The Confederate Congress had already enacted the 
"twenty nigger law" exempting one overseer for every twenty slaves on farms where there 
were no other white male adults. Compare John Paris, "The Soldiers' History of the War," 
Our Living and Our Dead, III (1875), 583. 

148 The North Carolina Historical Review 

quently proposed even more rigid controls. 18 While few of 
these ever became law, they are indicative of a growing spirit 
of concern on the part of the white population of the state. These 
proposals seem to belie the conclusions of one student of the 
period who holds that the control legislation of 1859 "was as 
complete as the most fiery antagonists of the free Negro could 
have desired." 19 

The unmistakable drift toward disunion after November, 1860, 
caused North Carolina, as other southern states, to re-establish 
its legal controls and to bolster them with additional legislation 
in order that the "peculiar institution" might withstand the 
impact of war. The legislative session of 1860-1861 was espe- 
cially productive in regard to legislation of this character. In 
preparation for the work at hand, a Joint Select Committee on 
Slaves and Free Persons of Color was appointed on January 7, 
1861. 2 <> 

As early as November 27, 1860, the senate considered a me- 
morial from certain citizens of Mecklenburg, Iredell, and Ca- 
barrus counties calling attention to the dangers inherent in 
loosely supervised trading with slaves. More stringent laws on 
the subject were offered as the best means of combatting these 
dangers. The following month two bills on the subject were 
introduced in the senate: the first recommended a licensing 
system as the best means of regulating this trade; the second 
proposed a change in the rules of evidence to make for easier 
indictments in instances of illicit trade with slaves. 21 The 
result of this action was a statute which provided that a written 
license or permit be required of all persons "to trade, or give, or 
sell to the slave." 22 A later enactment forbade slaves to trade 
in spirituous liquors. 23 

For many years prior to 1861 many North Carolinians had 
shown concern over the practice of permitting slaves to hire 

18 Franklin, "The Free Negro in the Economic Life of Ante-Bellum North Carolina," 
North Carolina Historical Review, XIX (1942), 247, 250-251; also Charlotte North Carolina 
Whig, February 8, 1859. These proposals urged the prohibition of trade with slaves, the 
hiring out of free Negroes in certain situations, and the prevention of emancipation by last 
will and testament. 

19 Cited in Franklin, Free Negro in North Carolina, p. 81. 

20 Journal of the Senate, 1860-1861, pp. 143-144. The committee was not re-established 
after the regular session of 1860-1861; after that time matters relating to free Negroes and 
slaves were referred to the old standing Committee on Propositions and Grievances. 

21 Journal of the Senate, 1860-1861, pp. Ill, 248. 
23 Public Laws, 1860-1861, p. 86. 

28 Journal of the House, 1862-1863, p. 272. 

Some Aspects of Negro Life in North Carolina 149 

themselves out. There was concern lest the practice, which 
permitted slaves to live in a "near free" status, make such slaves 
both difficult to manage and discontented with the legal status of 
a slave. Moreover, this practice made impossible that close 
observation and supervision which the perpetuation of the slave 
system demanded. Senator William K. Lane of Wayne County 
introduced a bill in December, 1860, declaring the practice of 
"self hire" unlawful, 24 but the General Assembly failed to enact 
legislation on the subject during the entire war period. 

The failure of state action caused several municipalities, Char- 
lotte and Hillsborough among them, to call upon local authorities 
for the enactment of measures to prevent the practice of per- 
mitting slaves to hire their time. These ordinances sought also 
to restrict the mobility of slaves. The Hillsborough ordinance 
of April 22, 1861, forbade slaveowners to permit slaves to come 
within the city limits between "dark and daylight in the week or 
on any hour on Sunday" without written permission. 25 Slaves 
found within the city without such permits were liable for arrest 
or imprisonment. The Charlotte ordinance was more specific 
and rigid than that of Hillsborough. Declaring that "no slave 
shall go at large as a free person exercising his or her discretion 
in the employment of their time," this ordinance forbade owners 
to permit slaves to control their time. A fine of $40 was im- 
posed for each violation. "On conviction," the ordinance con- 
tinued, "said slave or slaves shall be hired out to the highest 
bidder at public out-cry [auction] for the balance of the year." 26 
The proceeds of such hire were earmarked "for the benefit of the 
Town." Slaveowners were likewise forbidden to allow slaves 
"to keep houses to him or herself as a free person," a common 
practice in some areas of the state. Conviction of permitting 
separate habitation in contravention of this ordinance was deem- 
ed a misdemeanor and was punishable by a fine of $50. 

Control of the free Negro population was the subject of general 
discussion and commendation in North Carolina with the begin- 
ning of the Civil War. The free Negro population of the state, 
numbering slightly more than 30,000 in 1860, was largely a rural, 

** Journal of the Senate, 1860-1861, p. 85. 

25 Hillsborough Recorder, May 15, 1861. 

M Charlotte North Carolina Whig, June 25, 1861. 

. > > . > > i > 

■ > 
» > ' > > > > 

150 The Noeth Carolina Historical Review 

isolated, and backward group. While a few free Negroes held 
landed property and slaves, the vast majority possessed no prop- 
erty and enjoyed a status of tolerant dependency which was 
sometimes less enviable than the slave status. 27 Tolerated in 
the state, the free Negro was the constant object of oppressive 
legislation and restrictive petitions and memorials from citizen 
groups. The free Negro was viewed as an unwanted person in 
a society which recognized slavery and freedom as the two proper 
conditions and which held that the former was the natural condi- 
tion for Negroes. Moreover, free Negroes, enjoying an un- 
natural status, were regarded as dangerous, suspicious charac- 
ters whose presence but increased the difficulties of maintaining 
the slave system. 

Restrictive legislation placed on the statute books of slave- 
holding states during 1860-1861 was attributed to the activity 
of northern Abolitionists. It was held necessary to combat the 
assaults made upon the slave system by these incendiaries. One 
editor of a North Carolina newspaper declared : 

. . . abolitionism is reacting with crushing effect upon the negroes of 
the South ... a determination is evinced to rid the states of a class 
who are now considered dangerous from their liability to be employed 
by designing men or agents for propagating insurrection. Thus, by 
the insane folly of abolitionism, the progress of freedom is arrested 
through the entire South, and a large class, embracing worthy people 
who have been liberated often at great pecuniary sacrifice on the part 
of the masters, are returned to a condition of servitude or driven from 
their homes. . . . 28 

Self -protection demanded repressive legislation though it worked 
a hardship upon the free Negro, "a naturally inoffensive people." 
And the object was set: enslavement or removal from the state. 

An examination of legislation enacted in North Carolina dur- 
ing the Civil War which applied solely to the free Negro popu- 
lation reveals a threefold purpose: (1) to reduce the number of 
free Negroes in the state; (2) to eliminate possibilities of fre- 

« Franklin, "The Free Negro in the Economic Life of Ante-Bellum North Carolina," North 
Carolina Historical Review, XIX (1942), 360, 362, 370; also Free Negro in North Carolina, 
pp. 6-7. 

M Editorial, Raleigh North Carolina Standard, January 27, 1860. Compare Bernard H. 
Nelson, "Legislative Control of the Southern Free Negro, 1861-1865," Catholic Historical 
Review, XXXII (1946), 28-46, for a treatment of the problem in other Confederate states. 

» ' ' 

t i . t . , 

Some Aspects of Negro Life in North Carolina 151 

quent and close association between free Negroes and slaves ; and 
(3) to keep free Negroes under constant observation and control. 
This intent, "to preserve the status quo," is attributed by one 
author to the fact that free Negroes in North Carolina were 
growing more discontented with their situation and thus consti- 
tuted a threat to the control of the slave population concentrated 
in the eastern counties of the state. Preservation of North Caro- 
lina's peculiar civilization, he concludes, demanded either that 
this group be destroyed or that their life be made so miserable 
that any influence which free Negroes had upon slaves or on life 
within the state would be nullified. 29 These purposes were to be 
implemented through the adoption of legislative measures re- 
stricting emancipation, providing for the enslavement of certain 
classes of free Negroes, and imposing restrictions on mobility. 

A proposal of 1859 prohibiting emancipation by last will and 
testament which failed of enactment was introduced a second 
time in the legislative session of 1860-1861. The threat of war 
removed barriers against enactment encountered by the earlier 
effort. This measure passed the house on December 8, 1860, 
and the senate a month later. 30 It provided that henceforth 
no slaves could be legally emancipated by last will and testament, 
deed, or conveyance "to take effect after the death of the testa- 
tor." Instruments attempting to effect the same were declared 
null and void in so far as they attempted emancipation. In in- 
stances where emancipation of slaves was attempted in disregard 
of law, "the testator shall be deemed to have died intestate as to 
such slaves." 31 

Proposals were made during the first two years of the war 
by legislators and other public officials for the enslavement of 
free Negroes under legislative authority. Previous efforts had 
been made to effect a similar purpose; none proved successful. 32 
The first legislative consideration of this subject during the Civil 
War appears to have been that resulting from a bill introduced 
by Senator Thomas J. Pitchford of Warren County on January 

29 Franklin, "The Enslavement of Free Negroes in North Carolina," Journal of Negro His- 
tory, XXIX (1944), 404, 427-428. 

*• Charlotte North Carolina Whig, February 8, 1859; Journal of the House, 1860-1861, p. 
118; Journal of the Senate, 1860-1861, pp. 94, 107. 

» Public Laws, 1860-1861, p. 69. 

82 Franklin, "The Enslavement of Free Negroes in North Carolina," Journal of Negro 
History, XXIX (1944), 406, 409; Charlotte North Carolina Whig, February 8, 1859. 

152 The North Carolina Historical Review 

21, 1861. He urged the enactment of a measure to permit free 
Negroes to select masters and become slaves. 33 The following 
day Senator Humphrey, whose bill of 1859 had failed of enact- 
ment, was encouraged to introduce a second bill. He stated : 

Whereas, several petitions from free persons of color are now before 
the General Assembly, praying that they may be permitted to select 
their masters and become slaves . . . the joint select Committee on 
slaves and free persons of color should be instructed to report a bill 
providing a general law upon the purpose. 34 

Throughout the session free Negroes continued to petition the 
Assembly for permission to assume the slave status. Perhaps 
the frequency of petitions of this sort is a reflection of the effect- 
iveness of control legislation enacted in 1859 and of the subse- 
quent depression of the free Negro population which followed. 

Petitions for voluntary enslavement presented after January 
30, 1861, when the proposal to frame a general enslavement law 
had been committed to the senate Judiciary committee, were 
tabled to await a report from this committee. 35 When the com- 
mittee reported, it took the position that the General Assembly 
was without authority to enact a general enslavement law. "Ac- 
cording to the decisions of our Supreme Court," said the chair- 
man, "the Constitution recognizes free persons of color as citi- 
zens of the state and . . . the law must protect them in the enjoy- 
ment of life, liberty, and property, except where they have 
forfeited the same for crime." 36 Free Negroes, in the opinion 
of the committee, could not be enslaved by legislative action "even 
by their own consent." Constitutional amendment must precede 
any legislative action on the subject. During the remainder of 
the session, Negro petitioners were told that the senate was 
without the power to grant the permission sought. 

Numerous petitions and bills on the subject of enslavement 
legislation were presented to both houses of the General Assem- 
bly during the second extra session of 1861. Petitions of this 
character to the house of commons were particularly numerous ; 

M Journal of the Senate, 1860-1861, p. 209. 

** Journal of the Senate, 1860-1861, p. 216. Compare letter from John F. Dong of Edge- 
combe, J. G. deR. Hamilton, Papers of Thomas Ruffin, II, 614-617. 

30 See Journal of the Senate, 1860-1861, pp. 163, 180, 246, 428, for these petitions. 

,a Journal of the Senate, 1860-1861, p. 274. This adverse report failed to discourage either 
free Negro petitioners or whites who were interested in securing a general enslavement law. 
On February IB, 1861, the Joint Committee on Slaves and Free Persons of Color recom- 
mended passage of the bill. Journal of the Senate, 1860-1861, p. 367. 

Some Aspects of Negro Life in North Carolina 153 

and on September 13 and 14 the house took favorable action on 
them. 37 But while the house appeared little disturbed over 
constitutional barriers against enslavement under legislative 
authority, the senate maintained its position that such action was 
unconstitutional. This body took adverse action on similar bills 
introduced in the session of 1862-1863. 38 

Failure to effect the enslavement of free Negroes under a gen- 
eral law led its advocates to make attempts to realize the same 
purpose in a slightly different manner. On February 3, 1863, 
Senator John Murell of Onslow recommended removal from the 
state of all free Negroes who had not "voluntarily" sold their 
services for a period of ninety-nine years by January 1, 1864. 39 
The proposal was regarded as too stringent and was tabled. 

North Carolina, unlike Arkansas, failed to enact a general 
enslavement law during the Civil War ; and after 1863 efforts to 
accomplish this were very infrequent. But this appears not to 
have prevented many free Negroes from being depressed to the 
slave status. Free Negroes, arrested and convicted of violations 
of local ordinances or state statutes and unable to pay fines 
imposed by the court, were "hired out" to anyone who paid the 
fine. During the period of hire, such free Negroes were held 
under and controlled by regulations almost identical with those of 
the slave code. Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia also 
adopted this policy. This practice, in some measure, effected a 
type of involuntary enslavement without legislative sanction. 
Its prevalence is attested by newspaper advertisements for the 
return of Negro fugitives who "were once free, but [were] sold 
for jail fees." 40 

Efforts to establish effective controls for the free Negro popu- 
lation were made by the legislature of North Carolina even be- 
fore she entered the southern Confederacy. For some time the 
press and public officials had warned against the dangers immi- 
nent in too close association between free Negroes and slaves. 
The ownership and control of slaves by free Negroes was held to 
be extremely dangerous. Free Negroes in North Carolina, as in 
other slave states, both owned and hired slaves. Though the 
number of slaves held by free Negroes in the state was never 

" Journal of the House. 1861, 2nd. Ex. Sess., pp. 53, 65, 129, 149. 

*» Journal of the Senate, 1862-1863, pp. 80, 307; also Journal of the House, 1862-1863, 
p. 281. 

88 Journal of the Senate, 1862-1863, pp. 52-53. 

49 Raleigh State Journal, June 5, 1861; Charlotte North Carolina Whig, June 25, 1861. 

154 The North Carolina Historical Review 

very large and tended to decrease toward 1861, 41 there were 
many alarmists who viewed this relationship between free Ne- 
groes and slaves as a dangerous one. They held that it bred dis- 
satisfaction in the slave. 

Both houses of the General Assembly late in 1860 considered 
measures to prevent the ownership and hire of slaves by free 
Negroes. 42 On February 3, 1861, a law was enacted for that 
purpose. It provided that : 

... No free negro or free person of color shall be permitted or allowed 
to buy, purchase or hire for any length of time, any slave or slaves, or 
to have any slave or slaves bound as apprentice or apprentices to him, 
her, or them, or in any otherwise to have the control, management or 
services of any slave or slaves. 43 

Violation of this statute was punishable by a fine of $100 for 
each offense. The law was not retroactive and did not affect free 
Negroes who had acquired ownership or control of slaves prior 
to its enactment. 

Other legislation, designed to lessen the dangers which stemmed 
from the presence of a sizeable free Negro population, was en- 
acted during the session of 1861. This included measures relat- 
ing to treason and insurrection, the carriage of firearms, and 
mobility. After February 13, 1861, it was unlawful for any 
free Negro to "wear or carry about his person or keep in his 
house any shot-gun, musket, rifle, powder or shot." 44 A fine of 
$50 was the penalty imposed for the violation of this statute. 
Earlier laws empowering county courts to grant licenses to such 
persons to carry firearms were repealed. Three months later 
another statute was enacted which made the death penalty man- 

41 Franklin, "The Free Negro in the Economic Life of Ante-Bellum North Carolina," North 
Carolina Historical Review, XIX (1942), 373-374, places the number of free Negro slave- 
owners in 1860 at eight and the number of slaves held at twenty-five. He concludes that 
the motives for ownership included both economic self-advancement and benevolence. The 
Charlotte Western Democrat, September 8, 1857, recounts a rather unusual incident, the 
purchase of four free Negroes by a slave in Norfolk, Virginia. "A few days ago," it reports, 
"several free negroes were put up at auction . . . and sold to labor for a time sufficient 
for them to liquidate their taxes. Singular to relate, four of them were purchased by a 
slave, who felt quite proud of the distinction and made known the determination to get 
the full value of his money out of them or know the reason why." 

" Journal of the House, 1860-1861, p. 607; Journal of the Senate, 1860-1861, p. 465. 

4S Public Laws, 1860-1861, p. 69. The employment of white workers by free Negroes had 
been forbidden in Louisiana in 1860. Louisiana, Journal of the House of Representatives, 
1860, p. 22. 

** Public Laws, 1860-1861, p. 68. Similar legislation was enacted in Georgia in 1860 and 
in South Carolina in 1861. The Georgia statute prohibited the purchase of "any weapon 
which might be used either in offense or defense." Georgia, Acts of the General Assembly, 
1860, p. 56; South Carolina, Journal of the House of Representatives, 1861, p. 21. 

Some Aspects of Negro Life in North Carolina 155 

datory for free Negroes convicted of advising or conspiring with 
a slave to "rebel or make insurrection." 45 

Proposals made during the Civil War to restrict the mobility 
of free Negroes usually recommended a system of registration 
and licensing. One such proposal, made by Harrison M. Waugh 
of Surry in December, 1861, failed to pass the house. 46 Accord- 
ing to state legislative documents, it appears that no state-wide 
system of registration under legislative authority was adopted. 

In the absence of state action, local authorities acted on the 
subject. Three days before the Waugh proposal, the commis- 
sioners of Hillsborough empowered the local police to arrest free 
Negroes found on the streets without permits "except [on Sun- 
day] going to and from church." 47 The Charlotte ordinance 
of June 25, 1861, providing for the registration of free Negroes, 
was more elaborate than that of Hillsborough. All free Negroes 
of the city were required to appear before the mayor before July 
1, 1861, for registration. Upon presentation of evidence that 
they were "of a peaceful character and industrious habits" and 
the payment of a $1.00 fee, a certificate of registration was to be 
issued. The certificate was to contain the description, trade, and 
employment of the legal holder. 48 Free Negroes failing to reg- 
ister and subsequently found without said certificate were liable 
to fine, whipping, imprisonment, or hiring out "for a time not 
exceeding six months." 

State and municipal enactments relating to the free Negro 
constitute a vital aspect of North Carolina's policy of rigid con- 
trol of its Negro population during the war years. Proscrip- 
tions against intimate association between free Negroes and 
slaves and against carrying firearms were intended to eliminate 
threats of insurrection which, it was felt, would become more 
numerous after secession. Registration systems, adopted in 
those areas with large free Negro populations, would serve to 
discourage the entrance of "dangerous" persons from outside 
the state, would weed out dangerous ones within the state, and 

40 Public Laws, 1859-1866, p. 145. 

49 Journal of the House, 1860-1861, p. 176. Other measures recommending rigid free 
Negro legislation failed to pass the senate during this session. Journal of the Senate, 1860- 
1861, pp. 45, 100, 170, 367. 

* T Hillsborough Recorder, December 11, 1861. 

*• Charlotte North Carolina Whig, June 25, 1861. All of the discriminatory state enact- 
ments applying solely to slaves and free Negroes were ultimately repealed by the first Re- 
construction legislature, March 10, 1866. Public Laws, 1859-1866, p. 104. 

156 The North Carolina Historical Review 

would permit constant observation of those free Negroes who 
remained. It would appear that restrictive legislation of this 
sort was one of the factors responsible for the increase in the 
number of free Negro petitions for enslavement during the Civil 
War. The condition under which this group lived after 1860 was 
less enviable than the slave status. 

But with all this, there is some evidence that legislation and 
policies designed to restrict the movement of the Negro popula- 
tion were not entirely satisfactory and effective. An examina- 
tion of North Carolina newspapers between 1860 and 1865 re- 
veals an unusually large number of advertisements for runaway 
slaves and free Negroes under hire. This evidence leads one to 
conclude that there was a great deal of unauthorized movement 
of the Negro population despite efforts to prevent it. Such 
advertisements, not uncommon in the newspapers of the state 
during the ante-bellum period, tended to increase in number with 
the beginning of the Civil War. During 1862 and 1863 there 
was an unmistakable increase in the number of advertisements 
for "runaway Negroes/' particularly in the newspapers of Ra- 
leigh, Charlotte, Fayetteville, and Wilmington. 49 The frequency 
with which slaves escaped resulted in consideration by the As- 
sembly of measures to prevent it. Newspaper notices of run- 
away slaves being "taken up" or apprehended were not very nu- 
merous during this perod. 50 

No doubt much of this illicit movement can be attributed to 
dissatisfaction with the slave status; but the social disorganiza- 
tion which commonly accompanies warfare and the nearness of 
Union forces appear to have been equally important factors. 
Difficulties of travel failed to discourage escape; and rewards 
ranging from $100 to $500 failed to produce many captures. 
One advertiser for a runaway slave expressed the belief that 
the slave "will escape to the Yankees" ; another said : "He [the 
escaped slave] no doubt is trying to make his way to the 
enemy." 51 

*• Wilmington Daily Journal, October 6, 1862; Raleigh State Journal, June 5, 1861; Raleigh 
North Carolina Standard, April 13, 1862, May 22, June 5, July 7, 1863; Charlotte Daily 
Bulletin, July 25, 1863, March 21, 1865; Fayetteville Recorder, February 16, 1863; Hills- 
borough Recorder, April 2, 16, 30, 1862. 

60 Journal of the House, 1861, 2nd. ex. sess., p. 50; Journal of the Senate, 1861, 2nd. ex. 
Bess., p. 237. A typical notice in the Raleigh State Journal, June 5, 1861, read: "Taken 
up and committed to jail in Mecklenburg County — negro boy; the owner is notified to come 
forward, prove his property, pay charges and take him away." 

n Raleigh North Carolina Standard, April 1, 15, 1863. 

Some Aspects of Negro Life in North Carolina 157 

By 1862 much of the North Carolina coast had fallen into the 
hands of Union forces. Moreover, the Union army had ceased 
its earlier policy of returning escaped slaves to their masters. 
The threat of invasion of the eastern counties of the state caused 
slaveholders, who feared the capture or escape of their slaves, 
to remove their slaves to inland and southern counties. Accord- 
ing to the report of David A. Barnes, military aide to the gov- 
ernor, on November 17, 1862, the removal of slaves from the 
eastern counties was necessary. He held that it was impossible 
to trust slaves to work near Union lines and observed that 
alarmed owners had already begun to remove their slaves from 
the danger of escape or capture. 52 

The escape of slaves so aroused popular sentiment that there 
appeared a demand for a policy to prevent it. Since the prob- 
lem was a common one in many Confederate states, it came up 
for discussion at the Confederate Governors' Conference, attend- 
ed by Governor Vance, on October 17, 1864. This group was 
convinced that abetting slave escapes was a weapon adopted by 
the Union to wage war. A formal statement of policy was issued 
which declared : 

Whereas, the public enemy having proclaimed the freedom of our 
slaves, are forcing into their armies the able-bodied portion thereof, 
the more effectively to wage their cruel and bloody war ... it is 
the duty of all slaveowners immediately to remove their slaves able 
to bear arms; and when they shall fail to do so . . . it shall be made 
the duty of proper authorities to enforce the performance of this duty 
and to give such owners all necessary assistance as far as practicable. 53 

One pro-Union editor of a North Carolina newspaper charged 
that some slaves, reported escaped to the Yankees, had in reality 
been stolen from their masters by other slaveowners. "Many 
slaveowners," he declared, "do not mind stealing each other's 
negroes." 54 

In addition to control legislation, North Carolina enacted a 
series of measures for the utilization of the labor of its Negro 
population. State and Confederate conscription of white male 
adults left labor shortages, many of them in occupations from 

52 Clement Dowd, The Life of Zebulon B. Vance, p. 76; Harvey Wish, "Slave Disloyalty 
Under the Confederacy," Journal of Negro History, XXIII (1938), 442. 
68 Hillsborough Recorder, November 2, 1864. 
64 New Bern Daily Progress, July 19, 1862. 

158 The North Carolina Historical Review 

which Negroes were excluded by law and custom. Moreover, a 
growing demand was felt for labor to be employed in connection 
with state defenses and fortifications. 55 North Carolina devel- 
oped a conscious policy of organizing and utilizing the labor of 
its Negro population, slave and free, in the service of the state. 

Late in 1862 the General Assembly enacted a measure empow- 
ering the governor to employ slaves between the ages of eighteen 
and forty-five in the construction of "fortifications and other 
works for the defense of the State." 56 According to the provi- 
sions of this act the total number of slaves to be employed was 
unlimited, but requisitions for slaves had to be apportioned 
equally among the slaveowners of a county. Immediately upon 
completion of the work for which said slaves had been levied, 
"they shall be returned forthwith to their respective owners." 
Owners of impressed slaves were to receive compensation of $15 
per month for "ordinary hands" and $30 for slave mechanics. 
Slaveowners, who feared loss or capture of slaves employed by 
the state, found protection in a provision which promised com- 
pensation at "full value" where such losses were sustained. How- 
ever, certification, through the testimony of "two disinterested 
witnesses," both as to the loss and the value of the slave, was 
required before compensation might be paid. 57 In 1863 the 
governor was authorized to accept the services of Cherokee 
Indians who volunteered for the defense of the state. 58 

Before the enactment of Confederate slave impressment legisla- 
tion in 1863, Confederate officials sought the impressment of 
North Carolina slaves, under state authority, for work on stra- 
tegic railroads. George W. Randolph, Secretary of War, com- 
municated with Governor Vance for that purpose in November, 
1862. Labor was needed for the completion of the Danville- 
Greensboro Railroad ; if it could be secured under state impress- 
ment, builders of the road would not have to compete in the open 
market in hiring slaves. Governor Vance was requested to use 
his influence to secure such authorization from the General 

00 Charlotte Daily Bulletin, March 21, 23, 1865; Raleigh State Journal, June 5, 1861. 
69 Public Laws, 1862-1863, p. 24. Fayetteville Observer, 25, 1864. 

67 Public Laws, 1862-1863, p. 25. 

68 Journal of the Senate, 1863, p. 73. 

Some Aspects of Negro Life in North Carolina 159 

While agreeing that the completion of the Danville-Greensboro 
Railroad was vital for Confederate defense, Governor Vance felt 
constrained to withhold recommendation that slaves in North 
Carolina be impressed for that purpose. Impressment of slaves, 
he felt, was both unwise and unnecessary. It was possible for 
the private contractors constructing the road "to obtain the 
necessary slave labor without the intervention of public authori- 
ties/' he declared, "if they will offer fair and remunerative 
prices." 59 Moreover, slaveowners from the eastern counties 
had already begun -taking their slaves out of employment and 
moving them to inland counties; these slaves were employable 
for the purpose in question. Since the railroad was a private 
rather than a public project, serious opposition would develop 
in the state if citizens were compelled to use their property in 
its construction. 

Opposition to the North Carolina slave impressment act be- 
came evident soon after its enactment. Despite official assur- 
ances of compensation for slave losses sustained through the 
escape or capture of slaves employed by the state, owners were 
reluctant to surrender their slaves for state service. Slaveown- 
ers criticized the reluctance of state officials to employ free Negro 
labor. One example of opposition was observed in Robeson 
County in December, 1862. This county, with a free Negro pop- 
ulation of 1,462, was called upon to furnish one-fourth of its 
male slave population for employment on state defenses. Slave- 
owners opposed this levy ; they complained that it was unfair to 
impress their slaves when there was "an unusually large number 
of free persons of color not subject to militia duty." 60 Many 
were convinced that free Negro labor should be employed and 
that slave property should be impressed only as a last resort. 

A resolution embodying this conviction passed the legislature 
in 1862. It required that requisitions for labor, under either 
state or Confederate authority, must first draw upon the free 
Negro population. Only when a sufficient number of free Negro 
laborers could not be obtained should slave impressments be 
resorted to. 61 The failure of the sheriff to follow this procedure 

89 Dowd, Zebvlon B. Vance, pp. 76-78. 

60 Public Laws, 1862-1863, p. 48. 

61 Public Laws, 1862-1863, p. 49. 

160 The North Carolina Historical Review 

was made punishable by a fine of $500. One year later the house 
made an unsuccessful effort to enact a measure that would re- 
quire the substitution of free Negro labor for slave labor on all 
state fortifications. 62 

Other opposition to state impressment legislation was engen- 
dered by the frequent retention of slaves beyond the period for 
which they were originally impressed. In one such instance 
slaves were impressed under authority of Governor Vance in 
October, 1864, for a two-month period; four months later they 
had not been released. The General Assembly protested against 
such retention without the owners' consent and demanded the 
immediate return of the slaves to their owners. 63 

North Carolinians were even more strongly opposed to Con- 
federate slave impressments. Perhaps this was inevitable as the 
enthusiasm which characterized the early months of the war 
declined and rifts appeared between state and Confederate au- 
thorities over conscription, exemptions, and taxes. 64 In addi- 
tion to the same complaints which had been registered against 
state impressment policies, Confederate authorities were charged 
with ill-treatment of slaves, unequal apportionment among the 
states, and illegal impressments. The General Assembly, by 
joint resolution in December, 1864, registered a protest against 
the manner in which slave property of North Carolina citizens 
was treated. 65 It was alleged that impressed slaves were poorly 
fed and sheltered and that they were overcrowded. Governor 
Vance was instructed to communicate with President Davis and 
register a formal protest in the matter. 66 The extent of the 
antagonism which accompanied the impressment controversy is 
suggested by the fact that in 1863 Governor Vance had refused to 
furnish slaves requested by Confederate authorities because he 
felt that the citizens of North Carolina had already made suffi- 
cient sacrifices in this respect. 67 

82 Journal of the House, 1862-1863, p. 105. 

63 Public Laws, 1864-1865, p. 35. 

64 See Message to General Assembly, November 23, 1863, Executive and Legislative Docu- 
ments, 1863-1864, Doc. 1, p. 7. 

66 Official Records of the Rebellion, ser. IV, vol. Ill, p. 994. 

68 Journal of the Senate, 1864, P- 148; Public Laws, 1864-1865, p. 73, 

67 Official Records, ser. IV, vol. II, p. 385-386. Governor Vance carried on a large corre- 
spondence with Confederate officials in protest against unfair treatment of the citizens of 
North Carolina. Executive and Legislative Documents, 1864-1865, Doc. 1, p. 46; 1865- 
1866, Doc. 1, p. 13; Richard E. Yates, Zebulon B. Vance as War Governor of North Carolina, 
1862-1865, pp. 15-17. 

Some Aspects of Negro Life in North Carolina 161 

During the first year and a half of the war, North Carolina was 
reluctant to utilize free Negro labor in work connected with state 
defense. All efforts to accomplish this in 1861 and 1862 failed. 68 
This policy was changed in 1863 and legislation was enacted for 
the impressment of free Negroes for employment on fortifica- 
tions. Under the terms of this enactment, all free Negroes be- 
tween the ages of eighteen and fifty were liable for impressment. 
Such persons were compelled to submit to examination and en- 
rollment in their respective counties ; they were called into serv- 
ice as the situation demanded. 69 It appears that the first enroll- 
ments under this act took place in April and May, 1864. 

An increased demand for Negro labor in North Carolina is 
reflected in the numerous newspaper advertisements for Negro 
laborers, particularly for slaves, between 1861 and 1865. Rail- 
road companies appear to have been the most persistent adver- 
tisers for slave laborers. The Western North Carolina Railroad 
advertised for the hire of "100 able-bodied negroes" in December, 
1861. Three months later the same railroad was in the market 
for the hire of fifty slaves. During 1863 both the Chatham and 
the Piedmont railroads were in urgent need of Negro laborers. 
These two roads advertised for a total of 800 slave laborers dur- 
ing the year, and the Western Carolina & Rockingham Railroad 
near Rockingham advertised for 25. 70 Negro laborers sought by 
these roads were to be employed in construction and maintenance 
and as station hands. Occasionally Negroes were employed by 
some railroads as engineers despite popular sentiment to the con- 
trary. One newspaper, reporting that a Negro slave had been 
killed by an engine on the North Carolina Railroad in July, 1862, 
stated: "The jury of inquest should censure the company for em- 
ploying negro engineers." 71 

Despite assurances for the protection and care of slave prop- 
erty, these railroads encountered difficulty in obtaining the slave 
laborers sought. The advertisement of the Chatham Railroad 
carried the following assurance: "The line runs through a 

68 Journal of the Senate, 1861, 1st ex. sess., p. 38; 1862-1863; p. 695; Journal of the House, 
1862-1868, p. 227. North Carolina lagged behind Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and South 
Carolina in this respect. Nelson, "Legislative Control of the Southern Free Negro, 1861- 
1865," Catholic Historical Review, XXXII (1946), 43-44. 

89 Raleigh Daily Confederate, April 19, 21, 30, 1864. 

70 Raleigh State Journal, January 1, 1862; New Bern Progress, March 22, 1862; FayetteviUe 
Observer, February 16, 1863; Raleigh North Carolina Standard, January 21, 1863. 

71 Charlotte North Carolina Whig, July 8, 1862. 

162 The North Carolina Historical Review 

healthy country, on a high ridge, and all hands employed on the 
road will be well fed and cared for." 72 The W. C. & R. Railroad 
emphasized the fact that its line was "safe from the enemy and 
healthy"; 73 the Piedmont Railroad assured liberal wages and 
good care of all slaves employed. 74 If the length of time that 
these advertisements ran is considered an index, these assurances 
failed to impress owners of employable slaves. Each of the above 
demands for slaves was unfulfilled after a period of five weeks ; 
one of the advertisements ran for more than five months. Per- 
haps some of the reluctance of slaveowners to hire slaves to rail- 
road companies was due to charges sometimes levied that such 
slaves were not properly supervised. 75 

Among the other advertisers for the t hire of slaves were local 
public utilities companies, building contractors, and farmers. 
One contractor advertised for the hire of twelve Negro carpen- 
ters (slaves) to be employed in Orange County, "one of the 
healthiest and safest portions of the Confederacy." 76 One farmer 
sought thirty to forty slaves; another advertised for twelve 
slaves to chop wood. 77 There is evidence that an increasing 
number of Negro laborers were employed as mechanics, a loosely 
denned type of employment, and in the state salt works. In 1864 
Jonathan Worth, later governor of North Carolina, suggested 
that Negro laborers be used to replace white workers in the salt 
works who were suspected of being in correspondence with the 
enemy. 78 

The length of time which advertisements for the hire of slaves 
ran and the inf requency with which owners advertised slaves for 
hire leads one to conclude that slaveowners were as reluctant to 
hire their slaves to private employers as they were to surrender 
them to state authorities under legislative authority. According 
to one account, it was virtually impossible to hire slave labor 
in Randolph County after the middle of 1863, 79 and conditions 

72 Fayetteville Observer, February 16, 1863. 

73 Fayetteville Observer, February 16, 1863. 

74 Raleigh North Carolina Standard, June 21, 1863. 

7B See Journal of the House, 186U, pp. 89-90. In this instance Representative Dargon 
cited instances of depredations of slaves employed by the Cheraw and Coalfield Railroad. 

76 Raleigh Daily Confederate, October 5, 1864. 

77 Hillsborough Recorder, December 24, 1862; Charlotte Daily Bulletin, February 25, 1866. 
The latter advertisement ran for more than two weeks. 

78 Letter to William A. Graham, June 8, 1864, Hamilton, Correspondence of Jonathan 
Worth, I, 310; also Public Laws, 1862-1868, p. 49. 

79 Hamilton, Jonathan Worth, I, 329. 

Some Aspects op Negro Life in North Carolina 163 

tended to grow worse during the remaining two years of the 
war. 80 

While war fears and governmental impressments seriously 
affected the volume of available slave labor, the increasing cost 
of such labor appears to have accentuated the wartime labor 
problem in North Carolina. Sharp increases in the cost of the 
hire of slaves were noted as the war progessed. It is report- 
ed that in 1864 the amount in some areas of North Caro- 
lina ranged from $100 to $300. At Salisbury in January, 1865, 
the hire of field hands (men) ranged from $500 to $1,200, that 
of mechanics from $1,000 to $2,400, and that of women "without 
incumbrances" from $300 to $1,000. 81 All these were exorbitant 
prices as compared with those of 1860. An observer at Wilson 
on "hiring day," January 19, 1865, reported: 

Yesterday was hiring day, but too little was done in that way to 
establish any hiring rates for servants; and upon inquiring we can 
find no data upon which to base quotations. We suppose they will 
settle down in a day or two, and parties can come to an understanding 
. . . for hiring prices we heard talk of anything from 500 to 2,000 
[dollars]. 82 

Prospective purchasers of slave hires complained of the prices 
asked. Some estimated that when the cost of food, clothing, and 
the government tax on slaves hired was added to the cost of 
hire, it would amount to more than $1,200 for the hire of a prime 
hand for a year. 

Government policies, in the opinion of some employers, were 
responsible for the excessive cost of slave labor. The high rates 
paid by the state government forced employers to pay at least 
the same rate. In August, 1864, the government rate, as fixed 
by the Board of Commissioners of Appraisement, was $1.75 per 
day or $45 per month with rations furnished by the govern- 
ment. 83 One critic of these rates sarcastically observed that 

80 One of the infrequent offers of slaves for hire listed fifty to sixty slaves "for hire to 
someone living in a healthy part of the country." Hillsborough Recorder, December 9, 1863. 
See also Raleigh Daily Confederate, October 5, 1864. 

81 Beaufort Old North State, January 21, 1865, quoting the Columbia Watchman. One must 
keep in mind that all of these transactions were carried on in depreciating Confederate cur- 
rency; thus prices reflect the depreciation of this currency as well as rising labor costs. 

88 Beaufort Old North State, January 21, 1865, quoting the Wilson Carolinian, January 20, 

83 Raleigh Daily Confederate, August 3, 1864. In New Bern under Union control, a more 
definite effort was made to control the price of Negro labor. Employers were forbidden to 
contract for the labor of Negroes at a price in excess of the government rate. New Bern 
North Carolina Times, April 13, 1864. 

164 The North Carolina Historical Review 

soldiers who protected slave property were paid only $132 a 
year, while the government paid owners three times as much 
for the labor of their slaves. 84 

The difficulty and the extravagant cost of hiring slaves led 
some employers, urgently in need of labor, to seek to buy slaves. 
The Lockville Mining and Maufacturing Company advertised for 
the purchase of "Thirty Good Negroes" in August, 1864; and 
Thomas J. Person sought "one hundred likely Negroes' ' between 
the ages of ten and sixteen. 85 Other employers advertised for 
smaller numbers. 

Late in 1864, however, when the cost of hiring slaves was 
approaching the maximum, it appears that few slaves were 
offered for sale. Sometimes a few were .offered in the settlement 
of an estate. Thus sixteen slaves were offered for sale from the 
estate of John Harden of Alamance and a few were offered from 
estates in Fayetteville in 1864. 86 So infrequent were notices 
of slaves for sale that a slaveowner of Charlotte who offered 
thirty slaves for sale in March, 1865, thought it wise to state: 
"They are not offered for sale as a consequence of faults but 
simply because the owner lives where he cannot employ them 
to profit/' 87 Either as a result of the high prices asked or the 
restriction of sales in families, these slaves remained on the mar- 
ket for more than seven weeks. By 1865 prices up to $5,600 
were reported for slaves. 88 

An issue which involved the Negro in North Carolina be- 
tween 1861 and 1865, though in a passive sort of way, was that 
of state revenues. As state finances became disrupted by war 
demands, North Carolina turned to taxes on slavery and its inci- 
dents as a means of securing additonal revenues. The poll tax 
offered one possibility. This tax, placed at thirty cents in 1835 
on whites between the ages of twenty-one and forty-five and on 
Negroes between the ages of twelve and fifty, was increased to 
eighty cents in 1859. The wartime revenue bill of 1863 increased 

84 Raleigh North Carolina Standard, January 6, 1864. 

85 Raleigh Daily Confederate, August 9, 1864. 

88 Raleigh North Carolina Standard, October 21, 1860; Fayetteville Observer, January 18, 

87 Charlotte Daily Bulletin, March 3, 1865. By January, 1865, sale prices of $4,500 for field 
hands and $4,600 for common house servants were reported from Charleston, South Carolina. 
Beaufort Old North State, January 21, 1865, quoting Charleston Bulletin. 

88 Beaufort Old North State, January 21, 1865. 

Some Aspects of Negro Life in North Carolina 165 

this tax to $1.20. 89 According to the comptroller's report, 
$178,200 was paid in poll taxes in 1860-1861. This includes 
158,658 slave polls amounting to $131,924. The following year 
slave polls contributed $257,860 to the state treasury ; and under 
the law of 1863 and the $1.20 poll tax, slave polls amounted to 
$357,790. 90 These figures suggest the large contributions which 
slave polls made to the revenues of the state during the war 
period. 91 

Non-slaveholding classes in North Carolina agitated for an 
ad valorem tax on slave property as a means of increasing state 
revenues and distributing the tax burden equitably among all 
classes. This agitation, beginning in 1859, reached its climax in 
1863. The poorer classes contended that the failure to tax slave 
property according to value offered advantages to the slave- 
holding class and resulted in serious economic competition to 
their group as the result of large-scale employment of slave 
labor. Newspapers friendly to the slaveowning class ran fre- 
quent editorials in an effort to quiet this agitation. One of 
these stated: 

Slaves not only do not conflict with the interests of the poor white 
man, but they are the source of benefit to them in a multitude of 
ways .... We tax slaves to maintain the poor man, who are from 
affliction or misfortune unable to maintain themselves, while no slave 
is ever permitted to enter the poor house of the State. 92 

Other benefits enjoyed by poor whites which were "conferred by 
the slave population" were public asylums and schools. An in- 
crease in taxes, this editorial warned, would tend to drive slave- 
holding out of the state and with it would disappear many of the 
benefits enjoyed by poor whites. 

The problem was considered by the General Assembly during 
the session of 1860-1861, but no bill was enacted. After a great 

89 John W. Ellis, Speech before the Democratic State Convention, March 9, I860, p. 32; 
Public Laws, 1859-1866, p. 116. 

90 Executive and Legislative Documents, 1861-1862. Doc. 8, p. 206; 1862-1863, Doc. 7, p. 192; 
186^-1865, Doc. 7, p. 209. 

91 Disabled and insane slaves were exempted from this tax, but the total number so 
exempted was small. The census of 1860 lists only 358 slaves in the entire state in this cate- 
gory as compared to 1,102 whites. Of this number, sixty-three slaves were listed as insane, 
106 as deaf and dumb, and 159 as blind. United States Census, 1860, pp. 630-633. 

92 Fayetteville Weekly Courier, May 26, 1860. 

166 The North Carolina Historical Review 

deal of legislative maneuvering, 93 a slave tax law was passed 
in February, 1863. 94 It provided for the taxing of slave property 
according to its value. This tax yielded $642,796.83 during the 
fiscal year 1863-1864 and $622,130.28 during the next fiscal 
year. 95 Other tax legislation relating to slavery or its incidents 
included a measure imposing a tax on "negro trading" of five 
per cent of the purchase value of slaves. As the number of slaves 
held tended to decline after 1863, this tax lost much of its sig- 
nificance. 96 

The legislation and policies adopted by North Carolina during 
the Civil War which concerned the Negro reveal a conscious 
purpose to bolster and strengthen the controls deemed essential 
for the perpetuation of the slave system. Poor whites, legisla- 
tors, and slaveholders combined to mould a popular sentiment to 
support such policies. The press was particularly active in this 
respect. As a result, nearly every aspect of Negro life was con- 
trolled or supervised by either official or extra-legal means. 
While the "Negro policies'* of North Carolina were less oppres- 
sive than those of some other Confederate states, especially 
Georgia, they were stringent enough to cause the depression of 
many free Negroes down into the slave group and to prevent any 
active slave movement during the war. 

The value of the Negro population in both the defense and 
economic life of the state is attested by the widespread interest 
manifest in such problems as impressment, labor, and public 
revenues as they concerned this segment of the population. 
Though North Carolinians, as other Confederates, steadfastly 
opposed efforts to arm the slave for combat service, 97 they sup- 
ported efforts to expand the occupational area of Negroes under 
wartime pressures. A large-scale employment of Negro labor 
resulted on state defenses and fortifications and in an increased 
number of skilled and semi-skilled occupations. Negro labor was 
one of the factors which prevented a complete collapse of eco- 
nomic life in North Carolina during the Civil War. 

93 Journal of the Senate, 1860-1861, pp. 29-34; 299; 403; 1861, 2nd. ex. sess., pp. 159-60; 
1862-1863, p. 426. See Executive and Legislative Documents, 1862-1863, Doc. 1, pp. 9-10. 

M Public Laws, 1859-1866, p. 97. 

85 Executive and Legislative Documents, 1864-1865, Doc. 7, pp. 209, 214; 1865-1866, Doc. 7, 
p. 182. 

90 Public Laws, 1859-1866, p. 58; 1864-1865, p. 40. See also Charlotte Western Democrat, 
February 10, 1857. 

97 Editorial, Raleigh Weekly Standard, February 18, 1863; Journal of the Senate, 1864- 
1865, p. 34; Beaufort Old North State, January 14, 1865. 

BANKING POLICY, 1829-1832 

By Elizabeth Stone Hoyt 

"It is maintained by some that the bank is a means of execut- 
ing the constitutional power 'to coin money, and regulate the value 
thereof. ... If the bank be established for that purpose, with 
a charter unalterable without its consent, Congress have parted 
with their power for a term of years, during which the consti- 
tution is a dead letter. It is neither necessary nor proper to 
transfer its legislative power to such a bank, and therefore un- 
constitutional." 1 Thus Andrew Jackson dramatically took his 
stand against the re-chartering of the United States Bank in 
his veto message to Congress in July, 1832. 

Before making this statement, however, Jackson in his first 
three annual messages to Congress had called the United States 
Bank question to the attention of Congress and the American 
people. He reminded them in his first annual message that the 
United States Bank's charter would expire in 1836, stated that 
"It must be admitted by all, that it has failed in the great end 
of establishing a uniform and sound currency," and went on 
to suggest a vague substitute for that particular bank. 2 The 
next year he enlarged his idea into a definite plan for a hybrid 
affair combining a bank with an independent treasury system. 3 
In 1831, however, his message barely touched on the subject. 4 
Business interests became jittery at the thought of a change in 
the United States Bank; discussions arose throughout the 
country; 5 and the price of the stock of the bank fluctuated with 
the sternness or mildness of the President's utterances. After 
the President's first message to Congress the price of the bank 
stock fell from $126 to $116 per share in New York. 6 In antici- 
pation of Jackson's second attack on the bank the stock fell from 
$13414 to $126 in New York a few days before the message, 

1 Executive Documents, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, vol. VI, doc. no. 300, p. 10. 

2 United States House Journal, 21 Cong., 1 sess., 1829-1830, pp. 27-28. 
8 House Journal, 21 Cong., 2 sess., 1830-1831, p. 33. 

* House Journal, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, p. 21. 

Ralph C. H. Catterall, The Second Bank of the United States ( Chicago : The University 
of Chicago Press, 1903), pp. 174, 194-214. 

8 New York Evening Post, quoted in North Carolina Free Press ( Tarborough, N. C. ) , May 
28, 1830. 

[ 167 ] 

168 The North Carolina Historical Review 

and after the speech it fell to $123 in Philadelphia. 7 Because 
Jackson touched so lightly on the controversial subject in his 
third message the banking interests were encouraged to think 
that his hostility was lessening, and as a result bank stock rose 
two per cent in New York and Philadelphia in January, 1832. 8 
The United States Bank itself precipitated the banking crisis 
when Nicholas Biddle, the president of the bank, had a friend 
in each house of Congress introduce a bill for re-chartering the 
bank on January 9, 1832. 9 Thus the bank question was brought 
into the open, and in Congress and in the nation at large the 
wrangling started which later was climaxed by Jackson's veto 
message on July 10. In the West debtors wanting cheap money, 
in the East local banking interests, some wanting cheap money 
and some wanting hard money, and finally champions of the 
Jeffersonian tradition wanting hard money — all these alligned 
themselves against re-chartering the bank. 10 On the other hand, 
some of the banking interests, the moneyed people, and the com- 
mercial groups pressed re-chartering. 11 Within the Congres- 
sional walls heated debates burst forth with all varieties of opin- 
ions expressed. 12 Memorials poured in both for and against re- 
chartering the bank. 13 

Only two memorials, both pro-bank, were sent to Congress 
from North Carolina. Presented on March 12 was the memorial 
for the renewal of the charter sent by the president and directors 
of the Bank of New Bern. 14 After expressing appreciation for 
the favorable benefits of the United States Bank in North Caro- 
lina, the memorial claimed "that a refusal to renew its charter 
may not only injuriously affect the public confidence, but will 
lunge again upon the country the evils of a depreciated and dis- 
credited currency, of wild speculation, extensive indebtedness, 

7 North Carolina Free Press, December 21, 1830. 

8 North Carolina Free Press, January 3, 1832. 

9 United States Senate Journal, 22, Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, p. 65; House Journal, 22 
Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, pp. 165, 166. 

"Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Jackson (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1945), 
p. 79. 

11 Schlesinger, The Age of Jackson, pp. 92, 93; Catterall, The Second Bank, p. 224. 

12 United States Senate Register of Debates, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, vol. VIII, part I, 
passim; United States House Register of Debates, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, vol. VIII, 
parts II and III, passim. 

13 Senate Journal, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, passim; House Journal, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 
1831-1832, passim. 

14 Senate Journal, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, passim; House Journal, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 
1831-1832, passim. 

Reactions To Jackson's Banking Policy 169 

and general inattention to the faith of engagements." 15 Nicholas 
Biddle's cooperative attitude toward the state banking interests 
perhaps accounted for this. 16 On March 19, 1832, Willie P. 
Mangum, Senator from North Carolina, introduced in the Senate 
a memorial sent by "a large number of the inhabitants of Gran- 
ville County' ' requesting the renewal of the bank charter. 17 
After a thorough airing of the disputatious subject in the nat- 
ional legislature, on June 11 by a vote of 28 to 20 the Senate 
passed the bill, 18 which was followed by a confirmation in the 
House of Representatives on July 3, by a vote of 107 to 85. 19 

The climax came with the President's veto message which 
cleverly omitted his hard money views, and appealed to the 
emotions of the masses in his reasons for this action against 
the bank. Among the points which he stressed especially was 
the fact that it was a monopoly enjoying "an exclusive privilege 
of banking, under the authority of the General Government." 20 
He sought to line up Americans against foreigners and the rich 
against the poor by stressing that "more than a fourth part of 
the stock is held by foreigners, and the residue is held by a few 
hundred of our own citizens chiefly the richest class." 21 He urged 
that the distress which would follow the closing of the bank 
and the calling in of loans would be the fault of the bank "and 
it would furnish a reason against renewing a power which has 
been so obviously abused." 22 He was against the United States 
Bank giving the state banks special concessions "because it does 
not measure out equal justice to the high and the low, the rich 
and the poor." 23 He hinted at evils and abuses of the bank by 
saying, "An investigation unwillingly conceded, and so restricted 
in time as necessarily to make it incomplete and unsatisfactory, 
discloses enough to excite suspicion and alarm." 24 He sought to 
disprove the constitutionality of the bank. 25 

15 New Bern Bank Memorial to Congress, March 1, 1832, William Gaston MSS., in Southern 
Historical Collection, University of North Carolina library. 

18 Nicholas Biddle to (John R. London ?), January 7, 1829, Charles Fisher MSS., in South- 
ern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina library. In this letter Biddle showed 
that he had put much thought on planning a way by which the Bank could make a million 
dollar loan to the proposed new state banking system. 

17 Senate Journal, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, p. 190. 

18 Senate Register of Debates, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, vol. VIII, part I, 1073. 

19 House Journal, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, pp. 1074-1075. 

20 Executive Document, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, vol. VI, doc. no. 300, p. 1. 

21 Executive Document, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, vol. VI, doc. no. 300, p. 2. 

22 Executive Document, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, vol. VI, doc. no. 300, p. 3. 

23 Executive Document, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, vol. VI, doc. no. 300, p. 3. 

24 Executive Document, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, vol. VI, doc. no. 300, p. 12. 

26 Executive Document, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, vol. VI, doc. no. 300, pp. 8-10. 


The North Carolina Historical Review 

Despite the fact that the United States Bank question was 
one of the outstanding problems of Jackson's administration, 
little attempt has been made to study the reactions to the ques- 
tion in the various states. This study will attempt to appraise 
North Carolina's reactions to the bank war. In the ante-bellum 
period North Carolina never was particularly forward in any 
great movement, but was rather slow to react to any question of 
national interest. 26 It is not surprising therefore, that the state 
didn't get too wrought up over the banking discussion. Then, 
too, North Carolina was an agricultural state. In 1833 she had 
"less commerce and fewer important towns than any of her 
Atlantic sisters. 27 Out of a total population of 753,419 in 1840, 
agricultural pursuits employed 217,095, as against 18,437 em- 
ployed otherwise. The economic group next in importance was 
that of the manufacturing and trades, employing 14,322; and 
commercial activities included only 1,734. 28 The tobacco farms 
were largely in the Piedmont region in the counties bordering 
Virginia; cotton plantations were in the eastern part of the 
state and in the southern Piedmont region; in the northeastern 
counties corn and wheat were grown partly on large plantations ; 
in the western part of the state livestock and grain were raised 
on smaller farms ; rice was produced near the coast in New Han- 
over and Brunswick counties. Up the Cape Fear River from 
Wilmington to Fayette ville there was commerce. 29 Moreover, 
there were no large towns in the state in which large moneyed 
interests could accumulate. Wilmington, at that time the largest 
town, could boast a population of only 4,744. Fayetteville, a com- 
mercial center and seat of the North Carolina branch of the 
United States Bank, had only 4,285. New Bern, a coastal town, 
was next largest with a population of 3,690. The capital, Raleigh, 
had a mere 2,244. 30 Truly, there were only miniature cities in 
North Carolina during the Jackson era. By and large North 
Carolinians were small farmers. When the panic of 1837 swept 

20 Guion Griffis Johnson, Ante-Bellum North Carolina (Chapel Hill: The University of North 
Carolina Press, 1937), pp. 36-39. 

27 The Star ( Raleigh, N. C. ) , December 20, 1833, quoted in Johnson, Ante-Bellum North 
Carolina, p. 23. 

28 Compendium of the Sixth Census of the United States, 1840, pp. 42-43. (Hereafter cited 
as Sixth Census, 1840.) 

29 Sixth Census, 1840, pp. 174-181; Johnston, Ante-Bellum North Carolina, pp. 5-7, 53. 

30 Sixth Census, 1840, p. 42. 

Reactions To Jackson's Banking Policy 171 

the country the Fayetteville Observer noted with too much 
assurance the "great mass of our population . . . cannot be re- 
duced to bankruptcy by a money pressure. They are beyond its 
influence." 31 

With the economic status of the North Carolinians in mind, 
one does not wonder that the press did not get very excited 
as the United States Bank's re-chartering question began to 
simmer, boil, and bubble over in the years 1829-1832. In the heat 
of the discussion, in May, 1832, a pro-bank Charlotte paper, 
which had printed the anti-bank majority report of the com- 
mittee investigating the bank, asserted that it had intended to 
print the counter reports but found "too much of our paper 
would be taken up by the reports to the exclusion of more inter- 
esting matter to a large majority of our readers." 32 Likewise, 
in other North Carolina papers very little space and very few 
editorials were devoted to the bank discussion. 

On the whole arguments used against re-chartering the bank 
in the North Carolina press and by individuals were those used 
by Jackson in his veto message. The Western Carolinian in 1831 
stated that the bank was unconstitutional. 33 An editorial in the 
North Carolina Journal after the veto was in the same vein. 34 
The editor of the North Carolina Free Press, after the veto mes- 
sage, encouraged the people to think of the bank as "a combina- 
tion of wealthy speculators and aspiring politicians, who, under 
the specious garb of 'the American System* have of late con- 
tinued to make 'the richer and the potent more powerful/ at 
the expense of the industrious and hard working portion of the 
community." 35 

Also, certain prominent individuals used these arguments. 
Nathaniel Macon, a distinguished North Carolinian who at that 
time had recently retired from national politics, wrote: "Every 
law which grants privileges to certain persons, is against the 
principles of equality and freedom." 36 P. P. Barbour, a Vir- 
ginian whom many North Carolinians supported as vice-presi- 

81 Quoted in Johnson, Ante-Bellum North Carolina, p. 65. 

32 Miners' and Farmers' Journal (Charlotte, N. C), April 14, 1832, May 29, 1832. 
88 Western Carolinian (Salisbury, N. C), July 11, 1832. 
84 North Carolina Journal, July 25, 1832. 
86 North Carolina Free Press, August 7, 1832. 

86 N. Macon to T. H. Benton, March 7, 1831, printed in a St. Louis paper, quoted in a 
North Carolina Free Press, July 5, 1831. 

172 The North Carolina Historical Review 

dential candidate in 1832, was quoted in the North Carolina Free 
Press as objecting to the money power concentrated in the hands 
of a few and also to the bank as being very unconstitutional. 37 
Jesse Speight, a Congressman from North Carolina, in debate 
in Congress disparagingly called the United States Bank "the 
Mammouth Bank." 38 

Some of those supporting the anti-bank policy in the state 
were, like Jackson, hard money advocates. Nathaniel Macon said 
in 1826 : ". . . most if not all of our evils originate in the paper 
system." 39 Later he asserted that the banking people tried to 
convince the public "that paper is money, in fact better than 
money." 40 John Branch, a Congressman from North Carolina 
and a former member of Jackson's Cabinet, 41 thought that the 
framers of the Constitution intended "that the currency of the 
United States should have been metalic." 42 One Carolina paper 
ventured: "It will be a happy time for North Carolina, when 
honest, bold faced coin shall take the place of ragged and dirty 
paper, blotted with hieroglyphics, which one-fourth of our popu- 
lation do not understand." 43 The Western Carolinian taunted 
McDuffie, a friend of the United States Bank in Congress, for 
trying to prove by the use of logic that currency was coin. 
McDuffie had said : "Coin is currency ; paper is currency ; there- 
fore, paper is coin"; and the editor approved of the ridiculing 
answer made to this: "A watermelon is food, roasted fowl is 
food; therefore a roasted fowl is a watermelon." 44 The editor 
of the Tarborough paper agreed with this position: ". . . solid 
capital silver and gold but no rag money — no slips of dirty 
paper." 45 That at least a majority of the state lawmakers in 
1831 were hard money boosters was demonstrated by a law en- 
acted by the General Assembly in that year which was to prevent 

37 North Carolina Free Press, October 9, 1832. 
88 North Carolina Free Press, April 10, 1832. 

39 N. Macon to Bartlett Yancey, December 24, 1826, quoted in Edwin Mood Wilson, "The 
Congressional Career of Nathaniel Macon" and "Letters of Macon and Willie P. Mangum 
with notes by Kemp P. Battle" James Sprunt Historical Monographs, no. 2, pp. 89-90. 

40 N. Macon to T. H. Benton, March 7, 1831, printed in a St. Louis paper, quoted in North 
Carolina Free Press, July 5, 1831. 

41 Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1927 (Washington: United States 
Printing Office, 1928), p. 729. (Hereafter cited as Biographical Directory.) 

42 John Branch to George B. Outlaw and others, May 31, 1831, printed in Halifax Advocate, 
quoted in Western Carolinian, June 20, 1831. 

48 Oxford Examiner, quoted in North Carolina Free Press, March 18, 1831. 

44 Southern Review, quoted and discussed in Western Carolinian, January 9, 1832. 

46 National Observer, quoted in North Carolina Free Press, July 5, 1831. 

Reactions To Jackson's Banking Policy 173 

the circulation in North Carolina after July 4, 1832, of any 
out-of-state bank notes under $5. 46 

Furthermore, the heyday of gold mining in the western part 
of the state helped to contribute to the popularity of the hard 
money cause. 47 An appreciable amount of gold used for coin- 
age was mined in North Carolina. In 1830 she contributed the 
gold for $204,000 worth of United States coins. 48 The United 
States branch bank at'Fayetteville in that year received $30,863 
in gold bars from the state mines. 49 The next year $294,000 of 
the $714,270 of the United States money coined from gold was 
supplied by North Carolina. 50 This brought a clamor for a 
branch of the United States Mint to be established in the gold 
mining region. In the early part of 1830, Samuel P. Carson from 
Burke County introduced a resolution in the House of Repre- 
sentatives to appoint a committee to study the possibility of 
establishing a mint in Western North Carolina, but it failed to 
pass. 51 In April he wrote to Charles Fisher, a state legislator, 52 
indicating his continued interest in the matter. 53 Gideon Glenn 
of Franklin County introduced resolutions in the state legislature 
in December of that year in regard to the selling of gold mining 
land "for the purpose of augmenting the circulating medium 
of the state "and, also, to memorialize Congress on the necessity 
and propriety of establishing a branch of the United States' mint 
in the State." 54 

Thus North Carolina had expressed her hard money views 
before Andrew Jackson made a public issue of the fact that he 
was a sound money man in connection with the banking discus- 
sion. There is strong ground for believing this to have been 
his chief reason for vetoing the re-chartering of the United 
States Bank; 55 therefore, North Carolina was in full agreement 
with Jackson on the bank and hard money. 

46 N. C. Senate Journal, 1830-1831, pp. 107-108; N. C. House of Commons Journal, 1830- 
1831, p. 276. 

47 Fletcher Melvin Green, "Gold Mining: A Forgotten Industry of Ante-Bellum North 
Carolina," The North Carolina Historical Review, XIV (April, 1937), 152-155. 

48 Farmers' and Miners' Journal, February 1, 1832. 

49 Niles' Weekly Register (Baltimore, Md.), vol. II, 4th Series (March 20, 1830), 69. 

50 Farmers' and Miners' Journal, February 1, 1832. 

61 The Yadkin and Catawba Journal (Salisbury, N. C), January 5, 1830. 
52 John H. Wheeler, Reminicences and Memories of North Carolina and Eminent North 
Carolinians (Columbus: Columbus Printing Work), 1884, p. 403. 

63 Samuel P. Carson to Charles Fisher, April 30, 1830, Charles Fisher MSS. 
04 N. C. Journal of the House of Commons, 1830-1831, p. 204. 
65 Schlesinger, The Age of Jackson, p. 90. 

174 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Apparently, the initial anti-bank action taken in the lower 
house of Congress after Jackson's first message to Congress was 
in the form of a series of resolutions introduced by Robert Potter, 
a rip-roaring, dare-devil Congressman from North Carolina who 
was an aggressive Old Hickory champion and anti-bank man. 56 
Potter's resolution maintained that the bank was unconstitu- 
tional, "that the paper money or banking system, generally is 
in its tendency ruinous to the interests of labor and dangerous 
to the liberties of the people, ,, and that therefore Congress should 
not renew the charter of the bank. This was apparently merely 
a feeler, and he moved that the resolutions be laid on the table. 57 

Most of the Old North State's representatives and Senators in 
Congress in 1832 voted "no" on the issue, 58 and in this they 
merely expressed the views of a predominately agricultural state. 
The few who favored the bank were swayed by personal or eco- 
nomic interests. In the Senate Bedford Brown and Willie P. 
Mangum both voted against the re-charter of the United States 
Bank. Brown, a planter from Caswell County, 59 a tobacco and 
corn area, voted the interests of his locality. Willie P. Mangum's 
vote was, however, paradoxical. Although voting against the 
re-charter, he definitely favored it. He belonged to the wealthy 
group whose economic stakes were identical with the banking 
interests. 60 Mangum expressed himself very clearly on his stand 
for the bank soon after the re-charter measure was introduced 
in the Senate. "I regard the continuance of that institution 
as of almost indispensable necessity," he wrote a friend. 61 Later 
he voted for a Senate resolution to censure President Jackson 
for his action toward the bank, 62 and later he stated publicly 
in the Senate that he would vote against expunging the reso- 
lution from the Senate records. 63 Mangum asserted that he was 
not a hard money man and scorned Jackson for attempting to 

"Robert Watson, "Robert Potter: Tar Heel and Texan Daredevil," The South Atlantic 
Quarterly, XXIX (April, 1930), 142-150-151. 

67 U. S. House of Representatives Register of Debates, 21 Cong., 1 sess., 1829-1830, vol. VI, 
part II, pp. 921-922. 

68 House of Representatives Register of Debates, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, vol. VIII, part 
III, p. 3852; U. S., Senate Register of Debates, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, vol. VHI, part I, 
p. 1073. 

09 Biographical Directory, p. 744. 

60 Penelope McDuffie, Chapters in the Life of Willie Person Mangum (Reprinted from 
Trinity College Historical Society Historical Papers, series XV, 1925), p. 22. 

61 Willie P. Mangum to William Gaston, January 19, 1832, Gaston MSS. 

62 United States Senate Register of Debates, 23 Cong., 1 sess., 1833-1832, vol. X, part I, 
p. 1187. 

63 U. S. Senate Register of Debates, 23 Cong., 2 sess., 1833-1832, vol. XI, part I, p. 722. 

Reactions To Jackson's Banking Policy 175 

cover his mistakes about the bank with the "new idea" (hard 
money). 64 That Mangum voted against the re-charter despite 
such views attests the strong North Carolina opposition to that 
institution's continuance. 

In the House of Representatives all the North Carolinians 
except four opposed re-chartering the bank. 65 In this opposi- 
tion economic influences can be discerned. Samuel P. Carson 
of Burke County, a section largely agricultural with some manu- 
facturing and mining, 66 naturally opposed the bank. Moreover, 
he personally was interested in agricultural pursuits. Although 
his vote was not registered on the bill he was lined up with the 
opposition. 67 A North Carolina paper of July 17 stated that 
Carson was absent when the vote was taken. 68 In the next elec- 
tion he lost his seat in Congress but this was due to his favoring 
nullification, which was not in harmony with the viewpoint of 
his constituents, and not on account of the bank issue. 69 Henry 
W. Conner of Lincoln County, whose district was similar in 
its economic background to Carson's, was a planter whose in- 
terests coincided with that of his section 70 in his negative vote. 
Chatham County was the home of Abraham Rencher, a lawyer 
with farming interests 71 in a farming area, 72 who was against 
the bank. Still another agriculturist in the opposition camp was 
Micajah T. Hawkins 73 from the tobacco region of Warren 
County. 74 An incongruous vote was cast by the representative 
from the Seventh Congressional District, Laughlin Bethune. 
He lived near the commercial center of Fayetteville, which was 
the home of the North Carolina branch of the United States 
Bank. A plantation owner, 75 he personally opposed the bank; 
nevertheless, this placed him out of harmony with his constitu- 
ents and in the next congressional election he lost his seat to 

"Notes on Bank, 1834, pp. 40-41, W. A. and W. P. Mangum, MSS. in Southern Historical 
Collection, University of North Carolina library. 

85 United States House of Representatives Register of Debates, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, 
vol. VIII, part III, p. 3852. 

68 Sixth Census, 1840, pp. 42-43. 

87 United States House of Representatives Register of Debates, 22 Cong., 1 sess., 1831-1832, 
vol. VIII, part II, pp. 1509, 1525. T. H. Benton Thirty Years' View (New York: D. Appleton 
and Co., 1854), I, 240. 

88 North Carolina Free Press, July 17, 1832. 

89 Biographical Directory, p. 791. 

70 Biographical Directory, p. 841; Sixth Census,* 18 40, pp. 42-43. 

71 Biographical Directory, pp. 1453-1454. 

72 Sixth Census, 1840, pp. 42-43. 

73 Biographical Directory, p. 1077. 
7 * Sixth Census, 1840, pp. 176-177. 
75 Biographical Directory, p. 697. 


The North Carolina Historical Review 

Deberry, a pro-bank man, who though a farmer was interested 
also in the cotton and flour-mill business. 76 The Fayetteville 
Observer pointed this out after the election: "we take great 
pleasure in stating that the member-elect is in favor of the U. S. 
Bank and Mr. Clay's Land Bill." 77 Jesse Speight, a lawyer from 
Greene County, voted in line with the farming interests of his 
district instead of with the New Bern commercial interests. 78 
Another lawyer, James I. McKay, 79 voted with the agricultural 
interests of his southeastern district which no doubt diluted the 
power of the commercial group. 80 From the agricultural region 
of Halifax, 81 ex-Secretary of the Navy John Branch, a lawyer, 
mirrored the farmer's viewpoint in his vote although personally 
he was embittered against Jackson. 82 Although he was not a 
candidate for re-election, the next time his district elected an- 
other man with an agricultural bent, J. A. Bynum. 83 Thomas 
H. Hall, farmer-doctor of Edgecombe County, 84 which, also, was 
predominately agricultural 85 voted not to re-charter the bank. 
The four North Carolinian pro-bank votes in the House of 
Representatives have a certain economic tinge. William Biddle 
Shepard, a son of wealthy parents, was an outstanding lawyer 
and holder of large properties in Elizabeth City. Even more 
significant, he was a first cousin of Nicholas Biddle, 86 he had 
received a loan by the United States Bank of $5,000 about the 
time of the bank discussion, 87 and Biddle had assured him that 
it was not necessary to pay the debt at any particular time. 88 
Thus we account for his pro-bank vote. Lewis Williams lived in 
the extreme western part of the state in the mountainous region 
where it would be natural to take the debtor attitude toward the 
bank, but surprisingly he cast his vote for it. This seems to 

76 Biographical Directory, p. 893. 

77 Fayetteville Observer, quoted in Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette, August 20, 

78 Biographical Directory, p. 1553; Sixth Census, 1840, pp. 42-43. 
76 Biographical Directory, p. 1265. 

80 Sixth Census, 18*0, pp. 42-43. 

81 Sixth Census, 18U0, pp. 42-43. 

82 Biographical Directory, p. 729; Marquis James, Andrew Jackson, A Portrait of a Presi- 
dent (New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1937), p. 273. 

83 Biographical Directory, p. 722. 

84 Biographical Directory, p. 1048. 
86 Sixth Census, 18U0, pp. 42-43. 

86 Samuel A. Ashe (ed.), Biographical History of North Carolina (Greensboro: Charles L. 
Van Noppen Publisher, 1908), VII, 421-423. 

87 Correspondence of Nicholas Biddle, Appendix I, 359. 

88 Nicholas Biddle to W. B. Shepard, February 28, 1834, Biddle Papers. Quoted in Corre- 
spondence of Nicholas Biddle, p. 361, note p. 551. 

Reactions To Jackson's Banking Policy 177 

have been the outgrowth of a strong personal resentment against 
Jackson of some years standing. John Williams, Lewis Williams' 
brother, received a questionable political deal by Jackson which 
undoubtedly irked the family. 89 This is further substantiated 
by Mangum's observation that "Our friend Lewis Williams goes 
in deep enough. The thought you know, of Gen. Jackson is to 
him gall and bitterness." 90 Williams' vote was entirely a matter 
of personal animosity. The vote of Daniel L. Barringer is not 
so easily explained. He was from Raleigh, 91 however, and could 
have been influenced by the anti- Jackson propaganda projected 
by the Raleigh Register, which was bound closely to the National 
Intelligencer,® 2 the anti- Jackson paper in Washington. Whether 
he personally had moneyed interests has not been ascertained but 
he had relatives with manufacturing interests in Cabarrus 
County. 93 No particular significance appears to attach to Augus- 
tine H. Shepperd's pro-bank vote. He was a representative from 
Stokes County, an agricultural region, 94 and later he moved to 
Salem and lived on an estate, "Good Spring." 95 

The North Carolina legislature was assuredly pro-Jackson 
and must have been anti-bank, too ; at least it passed resolutions 
which wholeheartedly recommended Jackson's re-election in 1832 : 
"Resolved, that this General Assembly, speaking as they believe, 
the feelings and opinions of a large majority of the people of 
this State, do approve of the administration of General Andrew 
Jackson, President of the United States . . . and believing the 
best interests of the union will be preserved and promoted by 
his re-election, do recommend him to the people of these United 
States." 96 

Of course, this did not paint the whole picture. There were 
leaders in state politics who were pro-bank men. William Gas- 
ton, president of the New Bern branch of the State Bank and 

88 Nicholas Biddle to W. B. Shepard, February 28, 1834, pp. 60-61; "William was a brother 
of Jackson's implacable enemy, ex-Senator John Williams of Tennessee," Biddle Papers, 
quoted in Correspondence of Nicholas Biddle, note p. 548; Biographical Directory, p. 1707. 

90 W. P. Mangum to Bartlett Yancey, January 15, 1826, Wilson "The Congressional Career 
of Nathaniel Macon" and letters of Nathaniel Macon — annotated by Kemp P. Battle, James 
Sprunt Historical Monographs, no. 2, p. 109. 

91 Biographical Directory, p. 674. 

92 Archibald Henderson, North Carolina (Chicago, Lewis Publishing Co., 1941) I, 492-493. 
II, 658. 

98 Biographical Directory, p. 674. James Lewis Moore and Thomas Heron Wingate, Cabarrus 
Reborn (Kannapolis: Kannapolis Publishing Co., 1940), p. 42. 

94 Sixth Census, 18 AO, pp. 42-43. 

95 Biographical Directory, p. 1517. 

98 North Carolina Laws, 1831-1832, p. 199. 

178 The North Carolina Historical Review 

a member of the state legislature, 97 came out completely in 
favor of the renewal of the United States Bank in a letter to 
W. P. Mangum in which he agreed with him exactly on the bank 
question: "I know that nothing but this institution could have 
cured the . . . money disease in N°. O. and have a full conviction 
that if it be not upheld a state of things must ere long arise 
more extensively dangerous than what we have heretofore 
witnessed." 98 Still another political leader in the state at the 
time was William H. Hinton,, who was a Jackson man until the 
bank veto, which he thought was a "national calamity," and he 
refused to be an elector on the Jackson ticket." 99 A branch of 
the United States Bank was requested by two different towns 
in the state. Charlotte, in the mining district, put in a request 
in January, 1832, 10 ° and Oxford a little later in the year pleaded 
for one. 101 The pro-bank case, moreover, was promoted in anti- 
Jackson meetings during the 1832 campaign, so that there was 
evidently some adherence to that side in the state. 102 

Turning from those minor pro-bank expressions we can see 
remaining truly an overwhelming majority for Jackson as re- 
vealed by the presidential vote in November of 1832 which stood 
24,862 for Jackson against only 4,563 for Clay. Penetrating 
further, we find that all the counties in the state except Guilford 
gave a majority of their votes for Jackson. 103 Not only did the 
Bank veto not alarm the majority of the people of agricultural 
North Carolina; it pleased them. 

87 Memorial to Congress by Directors of Bank of Newbern, President, William Gaston, March 
1, 1832, William Gaston MSS; Wheeler, Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and 
Eminent North Carolinians, p. 137; T. Burgwyn to Robert Donaldson, December 7, 1831, 
William Gaston MSS. 

98 William Gaston to W. P. Mangum, January 23, 1832, William Gaston MSS (copy of 

"William R. Hinton to Col. William Polk, July 18, 1832, Raleigh Register, July 27, 1832. 
Quoted in NUes' Register, XLII (August 4, 1832), 406-407. 

100 North Carolina Free Press, January 31, 1832. 

101 Raleigh Register. Quoted in North Carolina Free Press, March 20, 1832. 

102 Greensboro Patriot, August 22, 1832; Raleigh Register, September 7, 1832. F. H. Thur- 
man (?) to William Gaston, September 1, 1832, Gaston MSS. 

103 M or th Carolina Free Press, November 27, 1832. 



Edited by D. L. CORBITT 

On January 29, 1843, Hugh Luckey arrived in Raleigh to begin 
the business of manufacturing hats. He probably came from 
Norfolk, Virginia, opened his business on Fayetteville Street, 
and ordered a rather substantial bill of goods from his friend, 
William Reid, Market Square, Norfolk. He also inserted an 
advertisement in a local paper, visited some of the Presbyterian 
families in Raleigh, and joined the Temperance Society. Just how 
long Hugh Luckey remained in Raleigh is uncertain. He did not 
advertise any after February 6, 1844. Shortly after this date 
merchants from Petersburg, Virginia, began to insert advertise- 
ments in Raleigh papers in an effort to sell hats to the merchants 
of Raleigh. Francis Major, Webb and Justiss, Eckles and Bolt, 
and Carpenter, Anderson and Company were some of the per- 
sons and firms so advertising. 

Hugh Luckey evidently made and sold men's hats and caps 
exclusively. In his advertisements were the pictures of men's 
hats. Mrs. Prendergast and Mrs. Ramsay carried advertisements 
of ladies' hats during the same period. Mrs. Prendergast charac- 
terized her business as a "Straw Bonnet Establishment." The 
advertisements of both carried pictures of ladies hats. 

Not long after Luckey began his business, he began to purchase 
wool, skins, and furs. In order to expand his business, he pur- 
chased a wagon and team and visited the nearby county seats 
during the terms of court in order to buy wool, skins, and furs 
and to sell hats and caps. According to his letters he was by 
this means increasing his income considerably. There is nothing 
in his letters suggesting that he was thinking of selling his 
business. It is possible that his lack of success caused him to 
move to some other town. It seems that he was always behind 
in his remittances for hats, caps, and materials. 

These letters are taken from miscellaneous papers from the 
Wake County courthouse and have been reproduced here as 
nearly as possible as they were written. They give some inter- 

[ 179 ] 

180 The North Carolina Historical Review 

esting information about Raleigh and the people who lived in 
that town more than one hundred years ago. 

Raleigh February 2 nd 1843 
Mr Wm Reid Esq 

Der Sir i arrived safe in this place on Sunday afternoon 1 
and i am very much pleased with the place, i have succeeded in get- 
ting a small store with a back room to it on the main street Fayette- 
ville St in the very centre of business for 125$ per year i called to 
see Mr McPheeters 2 Family they were all well I have been engaged 
with Mr Mc in visiting his friends I have been introduced to Mr. Lacy 3 
the pastor of the church 4 here and the elders of the church and to a 
number of the merchants they all give me great encouragement and 
promise to afford me every facility in their power to ensure me suc- 
cess the place contains about three thousand inhabitants 5 and the 
country round this place is very good the land is good and the people 
in general wealthy there is no hatter nearer than Fayetteville 60 miles 
and no regular hat store in this place a great number send to Peters- 
burgh to get hats for themselves i have been in a number of stores 
and the stock of hats at present is very small and a great deal of it 
unfashionable i think that a number of the merchants may be in- 
duced to give up the business of selling hats in fact a number of the 
merchants told me that hats were a drag that they could not keep 
them in order i do not believe that there is a hatters iron in Raleigh 
and i think that i will get plenty of hat to iron over i have made 
arrangements with Messrs Mcllwane, Bromley & Co Commission Mer- 
chants Petersburgh to settle the freight for goods from City Point 
to Raleigh you will mark the Boxes if you please to their care the 
following is a summary of what I will want 

12 yds Mole skin 
12 W S Nap 

1 January 29, 1843. 

2 Rev. William McPheeters, September 28, 1778-November 7, 1842, was a native of 
Virginia. He came to Raleigh in May, 1810, to teach in the Raleigh Academy. During his 
early residence he served as pastor for the city, holding community services in the State 
House. In 1816 he became pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, and served in that 
capacity until 1830. He taught school in Fayetteville, 1836-1837, and in 1840 was elected 
president of Davidson College, but declined the presidency due to poor health. Even though 
William McPheeters was dead when Hugh Luckey came to Raleigh, his family lived there. 
Hia son, Samuel Brown McPheeters, had graduated from the University of North Carolina 
and was studying law in Raleigh under Charles Manly. Late in August, 1843, he entered the 
Seminary at Princeton University. John S. Grasty, Memoir of Reverend Samuel B. Mc- 
Pheeters, D.D., p. 26 ff.; One Hundred Twenty-Fifth Anniversary First Presbyterian Church, 
Raleigh, North Carolina, p. 3. 

3 Reverend Drury Lacy, 1802-1884, was a native of Virginia. He was pastor of the First 
Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, 1837-1855. He was president of Davidson College 1855-1860, 
and an army chaplain during the Civil War. After the war he returned to Raleigh where 
he taught school. Cornelia Rebekah Shaw. Davidson College, pp. 71, 81, 97, 111. 

* The First Presbyterian Church. The congregation of this church was organized about 
1807. Reverend William McPheeters became the first pastor in 1816 and the first building 
was dedicated February 7, 1818. The present building was erected in 1899. Moses N. Amis, 
Historical Raleigh with Sketches of Wake County and its Important Towns, p. 102. 

In 1840 there were 2,240 inhabitants in Raleigh. 

Letters from Hugh Luckey 181 

1 Peice A G or Common Plush 
6 yds Drab A G plush 
3 Round Crown Blocks 6 % 6 V2 6 % 
2 Cases White Russia Hats 
12 White Russia Do For orders in the rough 
12 Blk Russia 6 *4 in the rough 
24 Do Fashionable Do 
200 Silk tips 
2 ps lace 

6 ps White Bending 
6 " " Banding 
5 lb White Glue 

Y2 Ream of Brown Wrapping paper 
2 Boxes fash Coney 6 
50 Best Northern Shells 

I suppose you will think i am ordering very largely but i have prepared 
this estimate with Care And i do not suppose that i shall want any 
more of or some time if i should i hope that these will be paid for as it is 
my intention to remit you by mail every twenty dollars or more that i 
can get hold of i have orders for five fash Russia Hats now and i have 
now got every thing ready to go to work you will please fill the order 
as soon as possible and direct as above My wife is well and joins with 
me in wishing yourself personally and your family all the prosperity 
and hapiness that you so richly deserve Give my love to Mr Emerson 
Mr McPhail to the Journeyman and to all enquiring friends to Mr & 
Mrs Childs also 

P S I have joined the temperance society 7 here they meet every Mon- 
day night and i am going to have King Alcohol tied here, the cause 
is flourishing the society numbers nearly six hundred 
No more at present from yours till death 

Hugh Luckey 

Raleigh Feb 8 th 1843 
Mr Wm Reid 

Dr sir i send you the enclosed and wish it was not more last Sat- 
urday it rained the whole day and i did not take in any thing i forgot 
to mention to you that i wanted one dozen mens Cloth caps as i have 
had call for three or four as the third week in this month is Court 

6 Spelled Coney and Cony. The hyrax or daman, a small Old World mammal or pika of 
the western United States. It resembles the rabbit. 

7 Temperance societies began organizing in North Carolina about 1822. This was an 
expression of the general movement for humanitarian reform which was sweeping the 
nation at the time. Some of the societies combined features of libraries and library 
societies with the new vogue for moral reform. At first most of the North Carolina societies 
were afflicted with the American Temperance Society, and by 1830 there were thirty-one 
societies in the state. After some time North Carolina drifted away from the American 
Society and became affiliated with its own state society. Guion Griffis Johnson, Ante-BeUum 
North Carolina A Social History, p. 1G8 ff. 

182 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Week there will be a large concourse of people from all the surrounding 
country as the court 8 is held but four times a year if you could let 
me have two Cases of low Crown Common Blk Russia hats i think that 
i could sell them i think that i will be able to let you have one hundred 
dollars per month easily as i do not pay out money for scarcely any 
thing i can very easily trade for what few things i want a gentleman 
here wishes me to get him three Cochineal Red Skivers 9 and will pay 
me a liberal advance on the cost of them if you can conveniently get 
them for me i shall be glad i continue to receive every encouragement 
from the people here and i expect that i shall do a very good business 
here this spring 

Please send me two white Skivers 

Give my love to all the Journeymen and to all enquiring friends accept 
for yourself personally and your family all the good feelings that grati- 
tude can bestow No more at present from yours till death 

Hugh Luckey 

Raleigh Feby 22*<* 1843 
Mr, William Reid 
Norfolk Va 

Dear Sir. 

Your letter of the fifteenth was received and my goods that you 
sent will be here to morrow the 23 d i send you fifty dollars in this letter 
Please send the balance of the goods that i ordered as soon as possible 
I find that Cashimeur Hats sell well here i brought but eleven with 
me and have sold seven if you could send me six Cassimeres in the 
rough i would be very glad and if you could let me have one Case of 
pretty good Blk Russia Hats five inch deep i could sell them i think 
directly as i have had several calls for them i have not any work 
scarcely to do at present nor will not have much to do until i receive 
the plush I continue to receive every encouragement here and if i can 
supply the market the merchants will have to abandon the business of 
selling hats Several merchants have told me that they would not 
order any hats this spring as they did not think that they would be 
justified i am very sorry to hear that business continues so dull in 
Norfolk and hope that it may soon get better i may as well mention 
that if you have a good supply of glazed Caps you would please send 
me one dozen as they would sell readily for seventy five cents will 
you also please send me a temperance song book the latest edition 
such as is sung by your choir there is a pretty temperance paper pub- 

8 The court of pleas and quarter sessions was held in Raleigh, February 20, May 15, 
August 21, and November 20, 1843. This court was the administrative branch of the county 
government as well as a body exercising limited judicial authority. 

9 Skiver is a leather made from the outside portion, or grain side of split sheepskin, gen- 
erally chrome-tanned, and used for hat linings, pocketbooks, and book bindings. 

Letters from Hugh Luckey 183 

lished here the plain dealer 10 it contains sixteen pages and is published 
in quarto form i will send you the second number next week if any 
of the temperance people in Norfolk wishes to subscribe for it you can 
send their names to the editor Mr Stringer it is published twice a 
month the terms are one dollar a year Succeeding in this place is no 
longer an experiment i am bound to succeed i had struck off one hun- 
dred hand bills similar to my advertisement 11 and have sent them 
them through all the surrounding country the people here have some 
sense they say that a hatter was long wanted in Raleigh and they will 
support me i hear that you went to farmville to see Lockwood i hope 
that you succeeded in your mission when i get started a little better 
i hope that i shall be able to send you money faster every exertions on 
my part shall be used to succeed Please give my love to your lady and 
family And may every happiness attend you in this life and the next 
is the fervent prayer of your sincere f reind 

Hugh Luckey 

P S Please give my best wishes to Mr. McPhail to all the Journeyman 
and to all enquiring friends HL 

Raleigh March 20 th 1843 
Mr William Reid 

Dear freind i take the present opportunity to address you a few 
lines Owing to a difficulty between the Norfolk Steam Boats and the 
City Point Rail Road i did not receive my goods until the thirteenth of 
this month the goods were detained at City Point unknown to the 
merchants and they had to pay storage and drayage for them amount- 
ing to one dollar and a half they inform me that the best way to send 
goods in future will be to send them by the Baltimore Boat that touches 

10 An advertising in a local paper at the beginning of the publication of the Plain Dealer 
stated that the Temperance Union was to be discontinued, and that the North Carolina State 
Temperance Society had requested William Stringer to begin immediately the publication of 
a temperance organ. It also stated that the Plain Dealer was privately owned, but that 
the subscriber had undertaken it "with the hope and reasonable expectation that the friends 
of Temperance throughout the state will lend their aid, in carrying out the benevolent views 
of the State Temperance Society in the promulgation of Washingtonian principles. . . ." 
The Plain Dealer was to be published twice a month at $1.00 per year. The Raleigh Star 
and North Carolina Gazette, Feb. 8, 1843. 

"RALEIGH HAT MANUFACTORY. Hugh Luckey, Hat and Cap Manufacturer, respect- 
fully informs the citizens of Raleigh, and the neighbors generally, that he has established 
himself permanently in this city, for the purpose of carrying on the above business in all 
its branches. Hats will be kept constantly on hand, or manufactured to order, of every 
quality, price and fashion, such as Beaver, Russian, Silk, Cassimer, &c, Panama, Leghorn 
and Straw hats cleaned and pressed, to look equal to new. Customers' hats pressed gratis. 

H. L. has taken the Shop on Fayetteville Street, next door to Mr. White's Shoe Store, 
recently occupied by Dr. Jeffreys, where he invites the public to call before purchasing else- 
where. He is determined not to be undersold, and is perfectly willing that his Hats should 
be compared with those from the Northern Factories, either as to their substantial quality, 
or fashionable shape. All that he asks is a fair trial. The Raleigh Register and North 
Carolina Gazette, Feb. 3, 1843. 

Dr. Jeffreys mentioned in this advertisement was Dr. Jacob Hunter Jeffreys, October 1, 
1810-April 10, 1845. He attended the University of North Carolina and graduated in medi- 
cine from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Raleigh Guards and 
the City Council. The North Carolina Standard, April 16, 1845; Alumni History of the 
University of North Carolina, p. 317; and genealogical information and diploma in the pos- 
session of Mrs. Mary Jeffreys Rogers, Neuse, North Carolina. 

184 The North Carolina Historical Review 

at Norfolk it will be cheaper and more expeditious goods sent that 
way will reach here in four or five days after being shipped i will send 
you by thursday fifty dollars and would have been able to have sent 
you before but for the circumstance i have alluded to and the weather 
being so very stormy and disagreeable that some bespoke hats that i 
have got the persons have not called for them i received one low crown 
Coney hat in the Box of White Russias at 33$ i wish you to send me as 
soon as possible 6 fash Blk Russias in the rough and five or six low 
crown white Russia Do as i have two or three Bespoke that they wish 
me to have made Please send me if you have them on hand two dozen 
very common Palmetto Hats 

Mr John Wilson is going to Norfolk about the 8th of April and i will 
send you all the money that i can raise by that time the Superior 
Court 12 sets here the 3rd of April if you can send what i ordered so 
that i can get them by that time i shall be glad as i will then have a 
full assortment do not think that i have forgotten you i send you this 
by Mr Downes who has kindly consented to give it to you for me he 
is a great freind of temperance and has delivered a very able lecture 
in the town hall this evening he has some beautiful engravings that 
he wishes to dispose of any service that you can render to him will 
be very warmly appreciated by yours 

Give my love to your family and may every blessing attend you is the 
fervent prayer of yours till death 

Hugh Luckey 

Freind McPhail i was very sorry to hear from you that times were so 
dull in Norfolk i hope that when this reaches you that they will be 
better we have had i think the most disagreeable weather in this 
country for this season of the year that i have ever experienced i was 
glad to hear from you that Chas Johnson and his Lady were added to 
the church i hope that it is but the commencement of a great revival 
in the church If you will not think it to much trouble you will please 
Call on Mr. Cassels and ask him if he will be so good as to forward 
me a Certificate by mail you informed me that you had taken the 
Benefit of the Bankrupt Law i hope that an opening may soon present 
itself to you that you may be enabled to raise yourself once more to 
that position in society that you are entitled to any service that i can 
perform for you or any information that i can give you will be cheer- 
fully done Give my best wishes to all the Journeymen to Mr Childs 
and his wife and accept them for yourself and family No more at pres- 
ent from yours to command 

Hugh Luckey 

12 Wake County was in the Third Circuit which was composed of Edgecombe, Franklin, 
Halifax, Johnston, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Pitt, Wake, and Warren counties. Court 
was held twice a year in the several counties in the district. D. L. Corbitt, "Judicial Dis- 
tricts of North Carolina, 1746-1934," The North Carolina Historical Review, XII (Jan., 
1935), 55. 

Letters from Hugh Luckey 185 

Raleigh March 27 th 1843 

Mr William Reid 
Norfolk Va 

Dear sir i will certainly send you as much as i can raise by Mr 
John Wilson who leaves here on the tenth of April the weather here 
has been very bad continued rain and snow so that trade has been 
remarkably dull in consequence as i stated in the letter i sent you by 
Mr Downes owing to a difficulty between the City Point Rail Road and 
the Norfolk Steamboats i did not receive the goods that you send me 
until the thirteenth of march and then i had to pay storage and dray- 
age at City Point Messieures Mc and Co informs me that the Boat 
that stops at Norfolk from Baltimore will be the Best as goods shipped 
in that way will reach here without any detention and cheaper than 
in the other method you will please in future send them in that way 
Please inform me if there is any news in Norfolk Remember me to all 
the Tours to McPhail and to all inquiring friends Accept for yourself 
and family my warmest regard and that you may prosper in this world 
beyond your calculations and meet with that reward in the next that 
remains for the people of god is the earnest wish of yours till death 

Hugh Luckey 

Mr Charles Dewey 13 Cashier of the State Bank informed me this 
morning that this is the best way to send money as any of the Banks 
in Norfolk will cash it directly i earnesly hope that no accident will 
occur in future to delay any remmitance i may make to you i anticipate 
when the weather breaks up a little i may be able to do more business 
the Superior Court is held here on the third of April i expect to do 
some business then i sent you a paper with my advertisement in and i 
will send you papers occasionally when there is any thing interesting 
in them tell McPhail to please attend to that business for me that i 
requested him 

Hugh Luckey 

13 "Death of Charles Dewey, Esq. With profound sorrow we are called upon to announce 
the death of this memorable and beloved citizen which took place at his residence in this 
city on yesterday afternoon at 5:30 o'clock. The infirmities of age have warned us for some 
time that his earthly pilgrimage was drawing to a close, but we were not without hope that 
his valuable life would be spared yet awhile for the further usefulness so characteristic of 
his past career. 

"Mr. Dewey was a native of Newbern, N. C, where has was born on the 28th of Novem- 
ber, 1798. He commenced services in the Newbern branch of the old State Bank of North 
Carolina in 1820. In 1826 he was made cashier of the branch in Fayetteville from whence 
he was transferred to the northern branch in this city. He has been in the banking busi- 
ness continuously since that date. The name of Charles Dewey is a synonym throughout 
the State of North Carolina, and the country at large, for honesty and efficiency. No man 
stood higher in the esteem of his fellow citizens. As a father, husband, and friend he was 
affectionate, loving and true. As a Christian, he was ever consistent and devoted. With 
Mr. Dewey has passed away another of our gentlemen of the older school. 'One by one' they 
are gathered in, leaving the impress only of their many golden qualities to posterity. He 
leaves a widow and four children." Editorial in Evening Visitor, (Raleigh, N. C.) October 
21, 1880. 


The North Carolina Historical Review 

Raleigh April 14^ 1843 

Mr William Reid 
Norfolk Va 

Dear sir i send you this draft and would have sent it some days 
ago but expected that you would write me in acknowledging the receipt 
of a draft i sent you on the twenty seventh of March of sixty dollars 
in my letter of that date i wrote you for 6 White Russias in the rough 
and six fashionables Russias you will please send me also 6 fash Cas- 
simeres in the rough and six low Crown Blk Russias also if you have 
them 6 fine Nutrias in the rough 
Please send me 4 Peices fine Blk Banding 
6 Do — Binding 

5 peices Common 6 Peices — Common Binding 
Banding 3 Blk Skivers 1 White Do . 

1 Piece of Lace 

Freind Reid there is a Bark Shop 14 here in Raleigh with every conveni- 
ence Colouring Kettle Blocks and so forth it belongs to a hatter here 
he is liked very much in town and can make a splendid Coon hat the 
people here go in for those kinds of hats i have employed him to make 
them as i can sell them very readily for five dollars in fact any thing 
that has my name in the top i can sell for Better i have about twenty 
of the Coon hats made and i intend to colour them as soon as possible 
to enable me to do this i wish you to send me ten or twelve lb of ex- 
tract and five or six lb of verdigris the copperas i can get here as 
cheap as you have it there will you please give me some information 
about colouring cleaning and stiffening i should like to have a supply 
of these kind of hats at all events before May Court as no doubt there 
will be a number of people here then as there is two negroes 15 going 
to be hung on the nineteenth of May in reference to a stock of summer 
hats i do not think that i shall want any or very few, if you think it 
necessary you may send me a few but the lighter the stock the Better 
as th[ere] is an immense competition in that line every person in 
Business sells them and they sell them very low i do not think i shall 
make any thing by them no how I think that i shall be able to send 
you one hundred dollars by the Nineteenth of may if not before i 
think that i bid fair to do a good business here in the fall i hope that 
by the end of this year i may be enabled to square up accounts with you 
as i have not yet had a fair chance owing to the difficulties that i have 

14 Tanning shop. 

is "Two Negroes, George and Harriet [Durham], convicted of the crime of murder at the 
last term [February 7, 1843] of our Superior Court and were executed on Friday the 19 
instant. There was a very large crowd in attendance, as we learn. The Negroes were very 
patient and acknowledged the justice of their sentence. The cause of the crime was rum. 
There have been four brought to an untimely end by the destructive use of intemperance." 
The Standard, Raleigh, May 24, 1843; Minutes of Wake County Superior Court, Spring 
Term, 1843. 

Letters from Hugh Luckey 187 

before mentioned Please fill this order as soon as you can and send 
me some Bow Strings Remember me to your lady and family to 
McPhail and all the journeyman, and to all enquiring freinds accept 
for yourself personally my sincere wishes for your prosperity and 
happiness No more at present from yours 

till death 

Hugh Luckey 
N B Please give me a receipt for the two drafts 

Raleigh May 25 th 1843 
Mr Wm Reid 

Va Dear Freind i am sorry that i have not been able to 

send you a draft previous to this date times here at present are very 
dull Mr Alfreind the only person who keeps an assortment of hats is 
selling off at and under cost as he intends to close business and leave 
Raleigh in August next so that i hope that i shall have a better oppor- 
tunity in the fall to do business and the fashion changing has also 
been against me some the fashion this spring i believe commenced 
with *4 Taper it has now i believe got to be straight i believe that i 
will have to get a set with a spinner and Brim Broad the latest that I 
have seen and i think the handsomest shape is this 6% across the side 
of the tip and 7 inches the other way 6% in the same proportion and 
so on for the balance as that proportion makes it appear exactly 
straight without the least taper respecting manufacturing i am deter- 
mined to have nothing to do with as i do not understand it and it is 
trouble without any advantage respecting summer hats as the season 
is getting rather advanced i do not know that i would be justified in 
ordering any more probably if i had a few of the kind that you sent 
me at four dollars per dozen say about two or three dozen if i had 
them soon i might sell them say in about two or three weeks at farthest 
from this date as i have failed in performing my promises i will not 
make you any more but as soon as i possibly can i will forward you 
more money i see no reason as yet for being discouraged with my 
blocks i will have to get a few hats to finish on them say 6 Cassimere 
5 fash Russ and 6 Fine Nutria please send me also 6 Blk Russia 6^ 
Deep i have some mole and S N Silk that i have not worked up yet i 
have a good stock of hats on hand yet as my business has been alto- 
gether cash and no credit at all there is no difficulty i believe in get- 
ting goods i reed the goods that you sent me the latter part of april & 
the goods that you sent me on the 19 th of May this day i intend to 
finish of but a few of the hats that you sent me some of them will 
perhaps do for large sizes of the present fashion except when ordered 
i still expect that i will do a good business this fall and winter and in 

188 The North Carolina Historical Review 

a short period do a good part of the business of this place every exer- 
tion shall be made on my part to do it economy prudence and industry 
shall not be wanting the bill that i owe you is large but i still think 
that i will be able to square up by the first of January 1844 my busi- 
ness may not perhaps be very good until towards the fall but i hope 
that with industry and prudence i shall be able to clear expenses if so 
i shall then commence the fall campaign without serious opposition 
Give my love to the Tours and to McPhail and may god in his infinite 
mercy crown you with temporal blessings here and eternal blessings 
in the world to come Give my love to your family to your inestimable 
lady and to all inquiring friends i remain yours 

Hugh Luckey 

N B No increase yet in the family 

Respecting Travis Flannegan he does not live in Raleigh he was here 
March Court and is a worthless fellow he was fined for selling rum 
without license and for gambling if there is any chanse of getting it i 
will get it he lives 40 miles from Raleigh 

H L 

Raleigh June 16 th 1843 
Mr. William Reid 
Norfolk Va 

Dear Freind i acknowledge the receipt of the bill of the 12th 
and was sorry that the Blocks were not mentioned trade here at present 
is very dull for causes that i have previous mentioned and not having 
fashionable blocks makes it much more so as the stores have fashion- 
able hats my dear freind please forward the blocks immediately or as 
soon as possible as i have five or six orders for hats on them i lose sales 
by not having them the shape that i wrote to you about was this you 
know the height for 8 % size 6 % across the tip and 7 inch the length 
of the tip 6 % size 6 % across the tip and 7 % length and the other 
sizes in proportion dear sir you cannot imagine what a loss i am at 
for want of them my dear friend i am very sorry that trade is so dull 
in Norfolk i will try and send you fifty dollars next week and i am 
very sorry that i cannot do more but i must try and do as well as i 
can we live in trying times i hope that they will not last much longer 
Give my love to McPhail to all the Jones and to all enquiring f reinds 

Accept for yourself personally and your family my heartfelt wishes 
and prayers for your success in life 

I remain yours with respect 

Hugh Luckey 

Letters prom Hugh Luckey 189 

Mr William Reid 

Norfolk Va Raleigh August 23 1843 

Dear Sir i suppose you must have thought that i had forgot 
you business this summer has been very dull but i have a very good 
prospect this fall and winter Mr Henry Raymond fur merchant of 
New York informed me on the twenty ninth of July by letter that he 
would buy all the fur skins that i could procure and pay me the highest 
New York price for them in Raleigh as i can collect them i expect to 
collect a large quantity this season as i have made arrangements with 
several tobbacco and ten pedlars to purchase all they can get for me 
in the lower counties and they tell me that they would prefer wool 
hats for the skins they collect to cash i can sell almost any quantity 
of wool hats that i can have made for $1.25 to $1.50 and by the dozen 
$12 i am now commencing to have them made i will inform you what 
they cost me i have purchased about 400 Lamb Skins this summer and 
they will cut about 400 lb of wool make about 800 Wool hats they have 
cost me in trade from 15 to 25 lbs per skin after the wool is of i can 
sell the pelt for 8 lbs i have engaged three wool hatters at $15 per 
month to turn me of 54 Wool hats per week you can form an estimate 
of what the first cost will be of the hats one of the hatters has the shop 
and tools have estimated the cost of the hats at 40 lbs per hat the hands 
are to find themselves for the above amount that they receive i have 
got a horse and wagon and intend to attend the courts for the purpose 
of selling hats and procuring furs i intend to commence about the 
middle of next month and from that time i will send you large remit- 
tances as large as possible i am not in the least discouraged i have got 
through this summer and Mr Alfreind the person that kept hats is 
nearly sold out he leaves Raleigh the middle of next month My dear 
Sir i am ashamed but i could do no better what i owe you as i said 
before i feel confident that i will be able to settle the whole by the 1 st 
of January the New York Prices for Mink is 20 to 55 average Ziy^ 
Do Raccoon 12 to 26 average — 19 
Otter $20 to $500 - - 3. 

I give for mink 6 to 10 lbs Raccoon Do others $1.00 to 2.00 

other furs at any price i chose to give in trade 
6 Fine Blk Russ fash 3 Blk Skivers 1 White do 
6 do - 6 i/4 Deep 12 pieces of stringing 

6 White Brush 6^ deep if you have them 1 Case Coney 6 deep 
50 Shells fine 50 do Northern 1 piece S N Plush 
1 piece Common plush 200 Silk tips with my name 
6 Fine Nutria 6 Fine Cassimere 1 doz mens Cloth Caps 
1 lb of white glue 
6 pieces Fine Banding 
6 do Finding 

190 The North Carolina Historical Review 

6 do Common Banding 
6 - - Binding 

1 doz do Glazed tops 

2 doz glazed Caps 

2 doz Hair seal Caps 
2 doz Sellett Caps 

My reason for ordering so much is this in Peddling i will sell hats 
and dispose of a great number and of course you see that the stock 
must be somewhat larger i feel confident of being able to clear two 
thousand dollars this season clear of all expenses i have not made an 
over estimate will you please inform me how cheap the coarse coney 
and russia hats can be made in the rough by you the freight makes 
them come clear in the box finished 

My wife arrived safe this day if you can fill this,order very soon i shall 
be extremely obliged to you and the remittances will begin to come fast 
after i get started fairly Give my love to your family to the journey- 
man and accept for yourself my heartfelt wishes for your prosperity 
here and hereafter i remain yours 

Hugh Luckey 

Mr. William Reid Raleigh Sept 26* 1843 

Norfolk Va Dear sir i send you the enclosed will 

send you more often and larger next month trade at present is dull 
farmers very busy saving fodder but next week is Court week when 
business will be good from that time i have sent a waggon to Johnson 
Court this week and intend keeping a waggon attending Courts con- 
tinually from this time henceforth so that i shall be more flush of 
money hereafter than i have been and of course i shall be enabled to 
sell a large quantity of goods i must beg of you to indulge me with a 
small assortment of Caps say 6 or 8 doz assorted 2 doz Common Musk- 
rat Caps 2 doz assorted finer say seal but not very fine also % doz 
Nutria V2 fine Cassimeres V2 doz Blk Russia 6 Y^ deep 2 doz mens 
Cloth Caps assorted 1 doz Boys do 2 doz Mens Hair Seal 2 doz Boys do 
1 doz Seallett Common Mens 1 doz Boys do these will comprise a good 
assortment i would not order so large But the season has now arrived 
when i will do a good business if you could send me ten lbs of extract 
i would be obliged to you for i color a good many .articles for people 
here and extract makes a more permanent color than logwood all that 
can be done i will do and send you money as fast as i possibly can i 
forgot to mention please send me % doz fash Blk Russ and if you have 
coarse Blk Russ 1 doz and do White 1 doz 2 doz Low Crown Coney i 
shall be enabled to run of some hats of that kind this fall and winter 

Letters from Hugh Luckey 191 

Give my love to the Jones and to your family and may all the blessings 
and comforts of this life attend you and happiness in the next is the 
fervent prayers of yours with L. P. Fidelity. Hugh Luckey 

Raleigh 1 Dec 1843 
Mr Wm Reid 

Norfolk Va Dr. .Freind i have been waiting for some time to 

receive the goods that you sent me on the eighteenth October i have 
wrote about them and have not heard any thing of them yet when i 
hear from them i will let you know it has been a very great loss to me 
not receiving them before this time i cannot tell how much i have been 
devoting my attention to wool hats not having many fur hats my 
assortment being so much Broken i have been doing the best i can i 
have been procuring fur skins and have considerable number at present 
but nothing to what i will have as the fur season is just commencing 
i have not got many rabbit skins as yet but no dowbt i shall have a 
great many this winter and spring in relation to the fur Business i am 
afraid that one cent a skin is not quite enough for the rabbit as to get 
them i will have to give that and the other furs if you will give the 
New York market price you shall have them as many as i can procure 
and that will be a great number Mr Wilson will be in Norfolk in a 
week or two and can give you any information that you may want in 
reference to me you must not get uneasy for i assure you that no 
exertions will be spared on my part and if i had reed the goods i would 
have been enabled to have sent you money long ago but waiting from 
day to day and hearing nothing from them but my dear Sir if I am not 
much mistaken you shall hear from me on the fifteenth and i shall 
make you a larger remittance and from this time if no accident happens 
me my arrangements for procuring fur skins are about as complete 
as you can form any idea of i have two wagons running one of which i 
run myself and i just arrived from Smithfield this day my hands as i 
have told you previously turn me of 6 doz wool hats per week and i 
sell them of about as fast as they make them at $100 to 125 about five 
hats the sale is not so rapid but i expect to commence trading abroad 
with them in a week or two as i have got a good assort [men] t of silk 
hats on hand i am very sorry that busines[s] is so dull in Norfolk 
extremely so and i shall do my best for you and send you all i can you 
shall hear from me as often as possible i have everything fixed here 
as well as i can and business in Raleigh is about as dull as it well can be 
but i do not depend upon Raleigh at all i do a better Business out of 
Raleigh than i do in it i have wrote for Jas Fox to come here and i 
expect him daily to take charge here while i am away so that i can 
travel this winter through the lower part of the state and in the ad- 
joining counties i should like for you to fill the Balance of the order as 


The North Carolina Historical Review 

soon as possible but i have been so dilatory perhaps it would be best 
for you not if you do not feel perfectly secure do not let whatever come 
i shall always look upon you as my best friend and if it is ever in my 
power to assist you in any manner i shall cheerfully do it Mr Wilson 
will tell you the kind of Business i am doing No more at present 
from yours in Love Purity and Fidelity 

Hugh Luckey 


By Mrs. Ernest A. Branch 

The forty-seventh annual session of the State Literary and 
Historical Association was held at the Sir Walter Hotel in Ra- 
leigh, Friday, December 5, 1947. 1 Meeting concurrently with 
the Association were the North Carolina Folk-Lore Society, the 
North Carolina State Art Society, the Archaeological Society of 
North Carolina, the North Carolina Society for the Preservation 
of Antiquities, the Executive Committee of the North Carolina 
Symphony Society, and the North Carolina Society of County 
Historians. At the morning session of the Literary and Histori- 
cal Association Mr. Richard Walser of State College read a paper, 
"North Carolina Short Stories"; Mr. Malcolm Fowler of Lil- 
lington, gave a talk, "The Valley of the Scots" ; Dr. Alice B. Keith 
of Meredith College read a paper entitled "John Gray and 
Thomas Blount, Merchants, 1783-1800"; and Dr. Lodwick Hart- 
ley of State College presented a review of North Carolina books 
and authors of the year. 

At the evening session, with Governor R. Gregg Cherry pre- 
siding, Mr. Ralph B. Coit of Greensboro, governor of the Society 
of Mayflower Descendants in North Carolina, announced that the 
annual Mayflower Cup award had been made to Dr. Robert E. 
Coker of Chapel Hill for his book, This Great and Wide Sea. Dr. 
Carlyle Campbell of Raleigh, president of the Association, then 
welcomed the members and guests, and the session was brought 
to a close by an address by Dr. Julian P. Boyd of Princeton Uni- 
versity, "Thomas Jefferson and the Police State." 

The papers of Mr. Walser, Dr. Keith, Dr. Hartley, and Dr. 
Boyd are printed below. The first three of these relate specifi- 
cally to North Carolina and the fourth, while having no direct 
connection with the state, is nevertheless published since it was 
the principal address of the meeting. 

1 For further information regarding this session, see the North Carolina Historical Review, 
XXV, (January, 1948.) pp. 136-139. 

[ 193 ] 



By Alice Barnwell Keith 

One of the most neglected periods of North Carolina history 
is that from 1783 to 1812. Aside from a very few political 
studies and some county histories, the field is almost barren. 
This neglect is particularly striking in the writings on trade and 
shipping. Few, if any, groups were in a position to exert a 
greater influence on their time than were the merchants. They 
had an important part in setting the standards of living and in 
channeling the course of political affairs; and they had the 
financial means to shape cultural patterns of the time. The 
merchant's account book is indeed the Domesday Book among 
the sources of history. Few merchants had a larger share in 
determining the course of North Carolina from 1783 to 1800 
than did John Gray and Thomas Blount, Merchants, and fortu- 
nately they have left thousands of letters and papers of their 
time to tell the story of their experiences. 

Thomas Blount, who according to family history was de- 
scended from Sir Walter Blount of Sodington, Worcestershire, 
England, is believed to have settled in North Carolina on the 
Pamlico River about 1673. Jacob Blount, the grandson of 
Thomas "through his sons gave its name its prestige in the south- 
ern states. . . .' n Jacob lived in Blount Hall on Little Contentnea 
Creek, where he became a successful business man, owning thou- 
sands of acres of land and numbers of slaves. 2 He also pro- 
moted his own sons' interest in the mercantile business when, in 
August, 1761, he together with Richard Blackledge bought a 
store on the forks of the Tar River, where later was to be founded 
the present town of Washington, North Carolina. 3 

John Gray Blount, a son of Jacob, took over the management 
of this business after the Revolution. He with his brothers, 
William and Thomas, organized the firm, John Gray and Thomas 

1 Zella Armstrong, Notable Southern Families (Chattanooga, 1918), I, 34. 

2 Legislative Papers (State Department of Archives and History, Raleigh), Tax Lists, 

8 Jacob Blount's Daybook, John Gray Blount Papers ( State Department of Archives and 
History, Raleigh). 

[ 194 ] 

John Gray and Thomas Blount 195 

Blount, Merchants, in 1783. 4 The association of the brothers 
was very successful. Their mutual respect and warm affection 
for each other enabled them to act upon the suggestions of any- 
one of them with unusual harmony. 

William was the best known of the three. He held many 
public offices, both local and national. He served as paymaster 
during the Revolution; was a delegate to the Congress under the 
Articles of Confederation; and was a member of the state con- 
vention of North Carolina, 1789. He was governor of the Ter- 
ritory South of the River Ohio, and was elected United States 
Senator from the newly formed state of Tennessee. Thomas 
also held local offices and served as a member of Congress for 
almost eleven years between 1793 and the year of his death, 
1812. John Gray was a strong political influence in North Caro- 
lina and had many friends who valued his opinion in national 
government, but he did not seek high office. He was the moving 
spirit behind the Blounts' business, which was soon to become 
one of the most important in North Carolina. 5 

William and Thomas were able to make profitable contacts 
and to transact much business for the firm while attending their 
public offices. William's fertile brain was particularly alert for 
new ideas and broader opportunities for their organization until 
his removal to Tennessee, after which he was less interested in 
the North Carolina business. 

John Gray and Thomas Blount, Merchants, conducted a wide 
scope of business. They carried on a local trade, both wholesale 
and retail in character; a coastal trade extending from Rhode 
Island to Georgia ; and a foreign trade including the West Indies 
and Europe. On the side they developed a number of small 
industries, including sawmills, grist mills, a nailory, a tannery, 
fisheries, cotton gins, tar distilleries, and warehouse storage. 6 

Washington, North Carolina, the home of John Gray Blount, 
was the center of the business. The main store was located 
there and was under his personal direction. Another large store 

* William Blount to John Gray Blount, Piney Grove, August 21, 1783. John Gray Blount 
Papers. Piney Grove, near Greenville, North Carolina, was the home of William Blount. 

5 Alice B. Keith, "Three North Carolina Blount Brothers in Business and Politics, 1783- 
1812," Research in Progress, The University of North Carolina Record (Chapel Hill, North 
Carolina, October, 1940), pp. 116-117; Alice B. Keith, ed., "Letters from James Cole Mount- 
florence to members of the Blount Family . . . ," The North Carolina Historical Review, 
XIV (1937), 251-253. 

6 Keith, "Three North Carolina Blount Brothers." 

196 The North Carolina Historical Review 

at Tarborough was under the management of Thomas Blount. 7 
The Blounts were also associated with John Wallace in running 
a store and tavern on Shell Island, near Ocracoke Inlet. In 1793 
they improved this structure, which they called Shell Castle. 8 
The inlet is described as "the only channel to the ocean, except 
for very small vessels, from the entire region of Albemarle, Cur- 
rituck, and Pamlico sounds and their tributaries." 9 Since this 
was true, most of the shipping in this part of the state passed 
near Shell Castle, the Blount and Wallace supply store. 

Washington was a busy little port in the 1780's. According 
to William Attmore, a visitor from Philadelphia in 1787, there 
were "sometimes lying there 20 sail of sea Vessels," and we may 
be sure that there was an equal or greater number of flats which 
were used on the inland waters. These flats, which would carry 
from sixty to seventy hogsheads of tobacco, were the chief means 
of transporting local produce to the market or ports as well as 
to convey the imported goods to the big purchasers. 10 John 
Gray and Thomas each had a large and a small flat. In 1789 
John Gray gave as his reason for lateness in attending the house 
of commons, the illness of slaves and the fact that he had two 
vessels of his own on hand and two foreign vessels which he was 
trying to get off. 1 * 

In the fall of 1783 the firm made plans to extend their trade 
to northern ports. Thomas Blount was sent to New York and 
to Philadelphia to see what could be done. A cargo of goods 
was sent to him in Philadelphia for his disposal. He concluded 
that this city would serve them better than New York, and he 
also made three other discoveries: credit was very difficult to 
obtain in Philadelphia ; a vessel timed to arrive with other vessels 
from North Carolina would suffer from a glutted market and 
resulting low prices; and poorly prepared products were likely 
to fail to pass the Philadelphia inspectors. He opened three 
hogsheads of tobacco out of his cargo and only one was accepted 

7 Keith, "Three North Carolina Blount Brothers." 

8 Jonathan Price, "A Description of Occacock Inlet Adorned with a Map by Jonathan 
Price," The North Carolina Historical Review, III (1926), 624-628. John Wallace was often 
called "Governor." 

9 Charles Christopher Crittenden, The Commerce of North Carolina, 1763-1789 (New Haven, 
1936), p. 4. 

10 Lida Tunstall Rodman, ed., "The Journal of a Tour to North Carolina by William Att- 
more, 1787," James Sprunt Historical Publications, xvii, 28. 

11 Legislative Papers, Dec. 11-22, 1789. 

John Gray and Thomas Blount 197 

by these strict officers. The net profit of the cargo was less than 
half the price of goods purchased for the return voyage, but this 
was partly due to his success in obtaining some credit, which had 
been applied to purchases for his firm. Contacts had been made 
and valuable information obtained. 12 Before the end of the 
1780's John Gray and Thomas Blount, Merchants, were carrying 
on an extensive coastwise trade. They sent vessels of their own 
or in combination with other shippers and merchants to Boston, 
New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk, and Charleston. 13 

The coastal trade aided them in supplying their own stores and 
in serving many other North Carolina merchants for whom they 
imported goods as well as marketing their surpluses. Benjamin 
Atkinson of Bensborough in Pitt County ; Amos Johnson of Town 
Creek, southeast of Tarborough; and Benjamin Coakley of 
Princeton, south of the Meherrin River in Hertford County, 
were three of their most important customers. Others included 
John G. L. Schenck and Edward Hall of Tarborough ; Spier and 
Stewart of Spiers Landing; Will Polk of Raleigh; and Grover 
Wright of Greenville. 14 

Extant correspondence for 1794 indicates the time and energy 
required to serve an active customer like Benjamin Atkinson of 
Bensborough. In January Atkinson asked the Blounts for a 
vessel to carry naval stores to Norfolk ; in February he was urg- 
ing them to get his invoice on their vessel for Liverpool ; in April 
he wanted a shipment made to Baltimore; in May he assured 
them he wanted one half or at least one-third of the space in 
the Blount's new vessel (the Tuley) and assured them that he 
would give freight to a vessel to Holland if they thought the 
imminence of war between England and the United States made 
this desirable ; in June he was sending naval stores and pork to 
go aboard the Russell and requesting that a cargo be directed 
to a merchant in Norfolk ; in August over a thousand barrels of 
naval stores were sent to go on the Tuley, which was loading for 

12 Thomas Blount [to John Gray Blount], Philadelphia, Sept. 9, 23, 1783, John Gray 
Blount Papers. 

13 Bath Customs Report, July 26, 1784, to October 17, 1789 (State Department of Archives 
and History, Raleigh); John Williamson to John Gray Blount, April 6, 1793, John Gray 
Blount Papers. John Williamson was a brother of Dr. Hugh Williamson of North Carolina. 
James Barr to John Gray Blount, Ocracoke Bar, June 26, 1787, John Gray Blount Papers. 

14 Alice B. Keith, "Three North Carolina Blount Brothers in Business and Politics, 1783- 
1812" (unpublished doctoral dissertation for the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 
1940), pp. 134-139. Copy in University of North Carolina library. 

198 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Europe; by September he and Amos Johnson were preparing a 
shipment for the West Indies and another for Philadelphia; in 
November he and Johnson were sending more products to be 
forwarded to Norfolk ; and in December he wanted the first 
vessel available to send naval stores to Norfolk. 15 

The Blounts not only had the business of arranging for the 
shipments, but Atkinson often asked that they cooper his naval 
stores, see to the loading and unloading of his flats, and store 
products left over from loading a vessel or those which were 
being collected for a shipment. 

Will Polk of Raleigh asked the Blounts to send him "30 gallons 
of Old Jamaica rum 50 W of coffee 50 W of loaf sugar 2 W of 
best Imperial Tea % doz quart Decanters best double Flint 2 doz 
V2 pint tumblers 2 doz glasses"; and he preferred that the 
glasses be of cut glass. x 6 

In March, 1795, Benjamin Coakley gave them an order for 
"Three Hundred Bushels Coarse Salt, Turks Island or Coarser [,] 
one Hh d . good Molasses if it does not exceed Six Shillings Paper 
Money P Gallon, twenty thousand eight penny Nails, Sixteen 
thousand Ten penny Nails, four or five peices % or % Linen 
from one Shilling to Eighteen pence Sterling, two Bolts Ozna- 
burg [osnaburg, a cloth imported from Europe and used for 
making clothing for slaves] , one Box pipes, two Dozen Weeding 
Hoes, two Rheams paper one of midling fine and one of Coarse, 
three packs of Common Pins, three [or] four Dozen Pocket 
Hand-Kerchiefs, one Keg Powder with Shot in proportion. . . ." 
He expected to pay for these articles with corn and tobacco and 
left the selection and prices in general to the Blounts. 17 

One shipment which the Blounts received from Philadelphia 
included one ton of iron, one ton of nail rod, one half ton of spike 
iron, 500 W of steel, a chair and harness, twenty barrels of bread, 
water colors, India ink and rubber, and proportional dividers. 18 

15 Benfjamin] Atkinson to John G[ray] Blount, Bensborough, Jan. 4; Ben[jamin] Atkinson 
to Benjamin Blackledge [Bensborough], Jan. 5; Ben [jamin] Atkinson to John G[ray] Blount, 
Bensborough, Feb. 16; April 7, 10; May 28; June 2, 9, 11, 20, 26; July 24; Aug. 14; Sept. 2; 
Oct. 1; Nov. 16; and Dec. 11, 1794. 

16 Will Polk to John Gray Blount, Raleigh, Sept. 14, 1799, John Gray Blount Papers. 

17 Benfjamin] Coakley to John Gray Blount, Princeton, March 17, 1795, John Gray Blount 

18 Tho[mas] Blount to John G[ray] Blount, Philadelphia, April 10, 1795, John Gray 
Blount Papers. 

John Gray and Thomas Blount 199 

The increase of trade made it desirable for John Gray and 
Thomas Blount, Merchants, to become shippers also. They pur- 
chased or had built numerous flats, sloops, and schooners, and 
several brigantines. 19 Some of these they owned outright while 
others were held in joint ownership. The smaller sloops and 
schooners were employed in local and West Indian trade, while 
the larger brigs, particularly the Russell, the Ann, the Tuley, 
and perhaps the Grampus, were used in West Indian and Euro- 
pean shipping. The Tuley was named for Henry Tuley of North 
Carolina, who built a number of vessels for the Blounts. 20 

The shipping business was soon under way. In March, 1792, a 
Baltimore firm wanted to charter one of the Blounts' brigs to 
send to Ireland; 21 Oliver Smith of Greenville wanted to charter 
a vessel for Norfolk; 22 Grover Wright was sending turpentine 
and pitch to be coopered to send on the Blounts* vessel to New 
York; 23 an acknoweldgement of goods sent on a sloop to Boston 
was made; 24 the Russell was in Europe; 25 and James Webster, 
a captain often employed by the Blounts, reported a difficult but 
successful passage over the Swash and the bar. 26 

The sandbars made it extremely difficult for seagoing vessels 
to enter or to go out through Ocracoke inlet ; and once over few of 
those entering dared risk passage over the swash, which lay 
between them and many of the inland towns, including Washing- 
ton. Vessels were often grounded here for two or more days, 
delays which were both expensive and dangerous. 27 

To aid the vessels to make the passage over the sandbars, the 
Blounts and Wallace supplied several small vessels called lighters 
which took part of the load from the larger vessels, thus light- 
ening it, after which the vessels could pass with greater ease. 
Shell Castle on Shell Island served as a base for these lighters. 28 

19 Keith, "Three North Carolina Blount Brothers" (dissertation), chap. IV, part I. See 
Crittenden, Commerce of North Carolina, for descriptions of different types of vessels. 

20 Henry Tuley to John Gray Blount, Pongo (North Carolina), Dec. 1793; March 23, 1796, 
John Gray Blount Papers. 

21 J. McKim, Jun. to John Gray Blount, Baltimore, March 4, 1792, John Gray Blount 

32 Oliver Smith to John G[ray] Blount, [Greenville], March 14, 1792, John Gray Blount 

23 Gfrover] Wright to John G[ray] Blount, Greenville, March 14, 1792, John Gray Blount 

24 Thomas Russell to Hugh Williamson, Boston, March 15, 1792, John Gray Blount Papers. 
35 John Smith to John Gray Blount, Cadiz, March 15, 1792, John Gray Blount Papers. 

28 James Webster to J[ohn] G[ray] Blount, March 31, 1792, John Gray Blount Papers. 
"William Gorham to John G[ray] Blount, Brig Tuley, May 16, [1795], John Gray Blount 

200 The North Carolina Historical Review 

This business served to augment the firm's income as well as to 
aid the public in navigation. 

The West Indian trade was fully as important as was the 
coastal and extended to the Danish, Dutch, French, and British 
islands. The French had seven ports open to foreign trade as 
early as 1784, and in 1790 Fulwar Skipwith, a friend of the 
Blounts, was appointed to the consulate of the French Windward 
islands. 29 The Dutch and the Danish islands also had free ports 
and the Blounts carried on trade with them. The British had 
passed a series of orders in 1783 which were designed to exclude 
the American vessels from the British islands. These restric- 
tions were largely ineffectual for two reasons : the determination 
of the American shippers to trade with the islanders and the 
eagerness of the West Indians to aid them, which resulted in 
large-scale smuggling; and the permission given by the British 
government for the governors or the commanding officers to 
open the ports in times of emergencies. The emergencies oc- 
curred so frequently that there was hardly a time from the late 
1700's until 1800 when some English ports were not open to 
American shippers. 30 Thus both illegal and legal trading were 
carried on. The Blounts apparently engaged in both. One of 
their Jamaican correspondents inquired in March, 1787, why 
they didn't get a European captain, as an American was so easily 
distinguished that it was really "running a risk." 31 In April 
following, another correspondent from a Jamaican port wrote, 

Be assured as your Brother Jacob Blount is on the spot he shall be 
made acquainted with every matter, and we will do, as he wishes for 
your interest, particularly — respecting a British Register & ca .. thus 
much to inform you we shall comply with every request of your brother 
who we consider a prudint careful man, as also Capt Williams who is 
Worthy of trust But where the Capt of the Schooner Polly came from 
we are at a loss to guess — a plan was fram'd by the Custom house and 
us to bring his cargo to Kingston under French colours, he was made 
acquainted with every Circumstance, and came into Port Royal [Ja- 
maica], where he was boarded by Men of War, he was asked from 
whence he came, he said Domingo, he then was asked for his papers 

28 Price, "A Description of Occacoke . . . ," pp. 624-628. 

29 Carl L. Lodke, France and the Colonial Question (New York, 1932), pp. 31, 64, 66; 
Fulwar Skipwith to John Gray and Thomas Blount, Merchants, Richmond, July 14, 1790, 
John Gray Blount Pacers. 

John Gray and Thomas Blount 201 

and he shew'd them his American papers. She [the vessel] was in- 
stantly seized by the Flag Ship afterward by the Customhouse, which 
gave us no little trouble to get through the whole of their difficultys, 
however by our Close application [and] a small expense We surmounted 
the whole & sent him to an Out Post, where he delivered his Cargo 
Safe, rec d . his money & Sailed [.] more of this by your Brig. 32 

But, as stated previously, not all trade was by smuggling. Hur- 
ricanes, slave revolts, and crop failures all brought the emergen- 
cies needed for the British officers to open the ports to American 
shippers, and the Blounts' friends in the islands were quick to 
inform them when shipping had been legalized within a certain 
port. 33 

The reports of the supercargoes show a variety of products in 
the West Indian shipping. Tobacco ; scantlings, boards, staves ; 
beans, peas, rice, pork, bacon, lard, butter, and fish were all men- 
tioned in the sale of a single cargo. 34 This was a fairly typical 
shipment, with the exception of the omission of corn and naval 
stores, which were usually included. The American vessels on 
their return usually carried sugar, cotton, coffee, rum, salt, and 
sometimes such delicacies as limes and a "parcel of Turtle." 85 
The most highly prized return was cash, which was extremely 
rare ; rum and salt were next in value. The rum was almost as 
good as cash because of its ready sale; and salt was valued be- 
cause of its extensive use as a preservative and as ballast for the 
return voyage. 

The high peak of the Blounts' trade with the West Indies was 
from 1794 to 1796. England and France were at war, and this 
gave a good opportunity for a neutral nation to make profit in 
shipping. Reports for a single day told John Gray Blount that 
the brig Tuley had arrived at the bar ; the Beaver reached Wash- 
ington with a cargo of dry goods ; the Russell was on a voyage ; 

30 Alice B. Keith, "Relaxations in the British Restrictions on the American Trade with the 
British West Indies, 1783-1802," The Journal of Modern History, March, 1948. 

31 William Duncan to John Gray Blount, Oracabessa [Jamaica], March 17, 1787, John Gray 
Blount Papers. 

32 Tyler & Mumford to John Gray & Thomas Blount, Kingston, April 10, 1784, John Gray 
Blount Papers. Captains could change the nationality of their vessels by the payment of a 
five dollar fee. Thomas Williams to John [Gray] Blount, Guadeloupe, Aug. 12, 1784, John 
Gray Blount Papers. 

33 Tyler & Mumford to John Gray & Thomas Blount, Kingston, Nov. 20, 1784. 

34 Cox Coart to John Gray Blount, Gustavia, St. Bartholomew, Sept. 27, 1793, John Gray 
Blount Papers. 

36 J. W. G. Prescott to John Gray Blount, Kingston, July 4, 1795, John Gray Blount Papers. 

202 The North Carolina Historical Review 

and the Regulator was at the bar waiting for salt. 36 Since this 
does not by far include all of the Blounts' vessels, it may be as- 
sumed that the report is incomplete. The great gaps in the 
customs records and the private papers for this period prevent 
any supplementary completion. 37 

During the time of their extensive trade with the West Indies, 
the Blounts were also interested in European commerce. After 
the formal organization of John Gray and Thomas Blount, Mer- 
chants, Thomas Blount was sent to Europe to investigate trading 
conditions and to make contacts with the British merchants. In 
the spring of 1785 he wrote John Gray from Bristol: "You 
would be amazed to hear of the villany of the merchants in 
America — even the great Robert Morris has made no remittance 
... I must now inform you that I cannot obtain credit and believe 
me it is without vanity I say, our House has as good reputation 
as an American house can have . . . American merchants are 
laughed at & aspersed by all others & so odious is the Character 
of an American that I am ashamed almost to confess myself 
one." 38 A few weeks later he again complained: "The vil- 
lainous Conduct of some Americans (I may say most of them) 
who came over immediately after the conclusion of the war & got 
largely into business here, has conspired with the general want 
of punctuality in the Merchants of our Country, to fix on the 
whole Nation a stigma of Dishonesty which Time itself will 
scarcely be able to obliterate- -." 39 These were not the only 
problems for the small pioneer shippers of the new republic. 
Insurance was expensive and difficult to obtain. As late as 1790 
William Murdock of London, a friend of Thomas Blount's, was 
frank to say : "the vessels and owners of your State in genl. does 
not stand high at Lloyd's & above all yr. navigation is exceed- 
ingly disliked [.]" 40 These difficulties hampered and retarded 
the Blounts but the pleasing personality of Thomas, the hard- 
driving efficiency of John Gray, and the political astuteness of 
William, together with fortuitous circumstances, made a combi- 

88 J. W. G. Prescott to [John Gray Blount], Washington, Nov. 10, 1795, John Gray Blount 

37 The British West Indian governors' papers give reports of shipping, but they do not 
list the names of the owners of the vessels. 

38 Thomas Blount to John Gray Blount, Bristol, Sept. 5, 1785, John Gray Blount Papers. 

39 Thomas Blount to John Gray, Bristol, Sept. 26, 1785, John Gray Blount Papers. 
*°W[illia]m Murdock to J[ohn] G[ray] and Tho[ma]s Blount, London, Aug. 27, 1790, 

John Gray Blount Papers. 

John Gray and Thomas Blount 203 

nation hard to defeat and a fair degree of trade was soon inau- 

The Russell was sent over in the summer of 1790. 41 After 
this it made numerous voyages and the brigs Ann and Tuley, 
and probably the Grampus, were also used extensively in Euro- 
pean trade. The vessels were sent with their own cargoes; in 
company with other merchants ; loaded for some of their big cus- 
tomers; or leased to northern merchants and shippers. 42 The 
indifference of the European merchants towards North Carolina 
shippers changed with the 1790's; consequently, the Blounts 
began to receive letters from England, Ireland, and Spain en- 
couraging them to send their cargoes to those countries. 43 

Increased opportunities and higher profits were accompanied 
with greater obstacles and risks. During the war between Eng- 
land and France the American vessels suffered from seizures by 
both England and France. Even during the Adams administra- 
tion, when the United States built a navy to protect its shippers, 
the southern states seem to have profited less from the new con- 
voy system than the northern and middle areas did. 44 This was 
due to the smallness of the vessels of the southerners and pos- 
sibly to sectionalism in politics. The Blounts were unfortunate 
victims of the policy of seizure. Three of their largest vessels 
were reported taken by French privateers — the Russell in 1797 
and the Tuley and Grampus in 1799. 45 With these losses and 
the death of William Blount in March, 1800, the character of 
the firm changed a great deal. Although it continued merchan- 
dising and coastal shipping, much of the zest which had charac- 
terized the war years of the 1790's had passed and other inter- 
ests began to take away some of the energy of the trading spirit. 

The extensive business of the Blounts made it necessary for 
them to maintain a large labor force. Each of them had his own 

41 W[illia]m Murdock to J[ohn] G[ray] and Tho[ma]s Blount, London, Aug. 27, 1790. 

42 William Lake to John Gray Blount, Liverpool, June 20, July 5, 1793 and Sept. 4, 1795; 
William Gorham to John Gray and Thomas Blount, Liverpool, July 31, 1795. 

48 W[illia"|m Charles Lake to J[ohn] G[ray] and Tho[ma]s Blount, Liverpool, Dec. 11, 
1794; Edward Forbes to J[ohn] G[ray] and Tho[ma]s Blount, Dublin, Sept. 6, 1790; and 
Dominick Terry and Co. to John Gray Blount, Cadiz, March 19, 1792, John Gray Blount 

44 See Captain Dudley Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-war between the 
United States and France (Washington, 1935-1938). 

48 State Gazette of North Carolina (Edenton), Feb. 16, 1797; G[rover] Wright [Postmaster, 
Greenville, North Carolina] to John G[ray] Blount, New York, July 22, 1799; W[illia]m 
Fisher, Jr. to John Gray Blount, Newport, April 8, 1799; A[aron] Burr to Grove[r] Wright, 
New York, July 21, 1799, John Gray Blount Papers. 

204 The North Carolina Historical Review 

personal slaves which were used whenever desirable. Some 
older experienced men worked for or with them, such as John 
Wallace and his sons at Shell Castle, or Charles Gerard and Wil- 
liam Williams, who took over at Tarborough when Thomas 
Blount was attending Congress. But they also had a number of 
wards and semi-apprentices. The extent to which the Blounts 
were sought as employers of apprentices and guardians of these 
young men is a fine testimony from their contemporaries who 
respected and trusted them. Men and women from all walks 
of life were eager to place their youngsters in their care. Some 
of the young fellows were heirs to considerable estates, and were 
doubtless seeking preparation for their own business careers; 
others, less fortunate financially, were learning a trade. All in 
all they constituted a large number. Among them were young 
Abner Nash; Cox Coart; Francis Hall, a young law student; 
young Edward Bryan; Abishai Thomas, who later became the 
financial agent to settle North Carolina's war claims with the 
federal government; Augustus Harvey, a son of Colonel Miles 
Harvey of Perquimans County ; the younger sons of Jacob Blount 
— Willie, Jacob, and Sharpe; Benjamin Blackledge, a younger 
brother of Richard Blackledge of Washington, North Carolina; 
and Thomas Blount's particular charges — Lewis Irwin, William 
Williams, and Billy Orr. 46 Business men, women, and ship 
captains sought to enter boys in this quasi-nautical school which 
the Blounts maintained. 

Their labor arrangement seems to have been generally satis- 
factory. No criticism of the employers has been found. The 
boys appear to have been very happy while there and some of 
them said so in no uncertain terms. One wrote: "Indeed, I 
leave your House with as much concern as I should my fathers ; 
such are the sentiments of attachment and Gratitude that your 
goodness has produced in me. . . ." 4 7 Another declared: "I 
never wish to live happier than I have been with you. You are 
the only person I will [ask] for advice if you will give. . . ." 48 
They, in their turn, seem to have given the employers little diffi- 

48 Keith, "Three North Carolina Blount Brothers" (dissertation), pp. 98, 101. 
* T B. Cousins to John Gray Blount, Washington [North Carolina], Feb. 22, 1797, John Gray- 
Blount Papers. 

* a Augustus Harvey to John Gray Blount, Dec. 31, 1783, John Gray Blount Papers. 

John Gray and Thomas Blount 205 

culty. There was one exception, however; young Abner Nash, 
whose father had asked that William Blount be the guardian of 
his son until the boy became twenty-one, was a bit obstreperous 
and William told John Gray that he was sending Abner Nash to 
live with him because John Gray's manner would "awe him." 49 

The Blounts were big business men of their day, with many 
of the faults of their kind but also with many of their virtues. 
They were hated with bitterness by some of their business and 
political rivals, but they had many friends who gave them intense 
loyalty. They would go far to help those in need; but when 
Americans, bitterly resentful of what they considered an unfair 
and punitive restrictive policy of trade with the West Indies, 
turned to smuggling, the Blounts were among them. Their tasks 
were not easy. Their navigators struggled through the sand- 
bars of their own coasts and through the frozen rivers of the 
north, and combatted the tropical climate and pirate-infested 
seas of the south. Their vessels were often too small for their 
burdens, their pilots limited in training, and their goods too 
crude for the sophisticated markets. Yet they surmounted these 
difficulties with a fair degree of success and through it all they 
aided their associates and gave pioneer service to American 

If a study of this very interesting episode in early American 
history has any value, aside from local interest, which should 
never be discredited, it is along these lines : first, North Carolina 
shippers had a fair proportion of the commerce which historians 
have usually attributed to New Englanders alone; second, trade 
with the West Indies was extensive during this period; and 
third, legalized trade with the British West Indies did exist in 
spite of the general policy of restriction, and, in the opinion of 
this writer, was as large as, if not larger than, the illicit trade. 

49 A copy of Governor Nash's will, Dec. 12, 1786, Frank Nash Papers, 1775-1797 (State 
Department of Archives and History, Raleigh); and William Blount to John Gray Blount, 
New Bern, Feb. 8, 1788, John Gray Blount Papers. 

By Richard Walser 

Scant attention has ever been paid the short story writers of 
North Carolina; yet only cursory investigation reveals that 
hardly any other group has given so full a literary interpretation 
to this state. For almost a hundred years the authors of short 
fiction have been eyeing with penetration the citizens of this 
state and the modes of living here, and with an unsuspected 
artistry they have used their observations as the background for 
their short stories. Up to the present time, however, no student 
has surveyed the accomplishments of these writers; and a re- 
vered state, while honoring its devotees in myriad ways, has 
failed to pin its badge of honor on the artists who have thus 
portrayed its glories to a reading world. 

The short story, perhaps more than any other type of litera- 
ture, has a public which is incalculable. The dramatist can esti- 
mate the number of persons who see his plays; the novelist or 
poet can determine rather accurately, from the number of his 
books sold, how many readers he may safely be said to have. 
The short story writer who publishes in periodicals, on the other 
hand, has far less chance of accuracy in calculating his public. 
But one can believe, surely, that a short story appearing in the 
Saturday Evening Post will have ten times the number of readers 
as will the novel of moderate popularity published by a New 
York firm. 

Now this question of readers is important, particularly as it 
aifects North Carolina if and when it is the setting of the action 
or furnishes the characters of the plot. It is important because 
the reader in Seattle or Bangor gets an impression of the state 
from his reading, good or bad as it may be. And the impression 
he received is in the nature of publicity, and thus the state and 
the more particular locality are, in some cases, very much 

For example, in August 1947, James Street, the Chapel Hill 
resident, had a short story, "Symphony in Siler City," in Good 
Housekeeping, a widely read monthly. It was a competently 
written story and probably gave our reader in Seattle an impres- 
sion that North Carolina was a state which, even if comfortably 
backwoodsy, could have a symphonic concert booked for one of 

[ 206 ] 

North Carolina Short Stories 207 

its smaller towns. Mr. Street, in his second paragraph, wrote 
concerning one of his characters: "Johnnie J. Thistlewaite is 
just the greatest timpani player in American music, a kettledrum 
man from Siler City, North Carolina, where, he insists, live more 
left-handed golfers and timpani artists than any other place." I 
can imagine that Siler City citizens were amazed to read of these 
new honors so unexpectedly come to their town. Later in the 
story Mr. Street has his first-person narrator call the members 
of the Siler City Hometown Day Committee, who had invited the 
symphony to play there, the appellation "yokels"; and shortly 
thereafter the narrator comments: "I still don't know why 
towns are built so far back in the sticks as Siler City, or what 
people do in such places except get born and die." All this, 
appearing in a national periodical, "riled" the editor of the Siler 
City newspaper, who considered these sentences "brickbats" and 
wanted to "know what Street has against Siler City that he 
would take out his wrath in a yarn that could just as well have 
been set in Ohio or Mississippi." Alas, it was set in North 
Carolina! Mr. Street retaliated with complimentary remarks 
about Siler City and an insistence on the fact that the first- 
person narrator who had made the derogatory statements was a 
"heel." The News and Observer, editorializing on this contro- 
versy of bad tempers between editor and author, summed up the 
situation with this comment on Siler City: "How much more 
lively in devotion or defamation it seems now !" The argument 
had reached the first page of newspapers ; and Siler City, in the 
broil of its first literary prominence, was the lone victor. 

Even without front-page prominence, short stories lend im- 
portance to any locality. If Georgia suffers from an Erskine 
Caldwell, North Carolina may in the same fashion gain from an 
0. Henry. Surely, this state has been fortunate in the short 
story writers who have portrayed it. 

The first of these distinguished writers seems to have been 
Harden E. Taliaferro (1818-1875), who went by the pseudonym 
of "Skitt." In 1859 Harper published Fisher's River, a series 
of twenty-three sketches, most of them concerning Surry County. 
After an absence of twenty years, Taliaferro had returned to 
his native Surry about 1857, and the result was this collection of 

208 The North Carolina Historical Review 

"tall tales" about real Carolinians. Most of their days were 
taken up with fishing, hunting, fighting, praying, loving, work- 
ing, and politicking. The stories are in the lusty vernacular of 
the inhabitants. There is nothing little here; everything is 
drawn on a full scale. Memorable is Uncle Davy Lane, who 
kills so many pigeons from a tree that when the boughs lighten, 
his horse, tied to the tree, is lifted into the air. 

Christian Reid of Salisbury, in those years following the Civil 
War, gave dignified publicity to "The Land of the Sky," her own 
name for our North Carolina mountains, not only in her novels 
but in her many short stories as well. These sylvan romances 
were widely read, and many visitors came from far distances to 
see the beauty of those hills about which -she had so devotedly 

How consistently the mountains have attracted our authors! 
In spite of the fact that 0. Henry spent the first eighteen years 
of his life in Greensboro, the only two of his stories which are 
definitely set in North Carolina have the mountains for their 
locales. "The Blackjack Bargainer" tells of a feud in the town 
of Bethel. As 0. Henry writes, "Bethel rested upon the foot- 
hills of the Blue Ridge. Above it the mountains were piled to 
the sky. Far below it the turbid Catawba gleamed yellow along 
its disconsolate valley." Again in "Let Me Feel Your Pulse," 
he turned to the mountains; in this, his only autobiographical 
story, he tells of the man who found health in the majestic hills 
when no physician could cure his malady. 

Thomas Wolfe, our one indisputable literary genius (and genius 
is a word which must be cautiously used), wrote of the moun- 
tains, too. In his short stories we find the townspeople of Alta- 
mont and Libya Hill, both Asheville, of course, and his moun- 
taineer kin, the Joyners and Pentlands, his mother's folks. The 
Carolina mountain character and the Carolina mountain lingo 
has never been more faithfully and affectionately captured than 
in his short story, "The Web of Earth." 

All these foregoing are native writers. Those who have come 
here from other states have likewise been attracted by the pic- 
turesque grandeur of the scenery and, more than that, by the 
integral character of the inhabitants. Olive Tilford Dargan of 

North Carolina Short Stories 209 

Kentucky wrote an entire volume of stories, From My Highest 
Hill, about the mountaineers whom she loved because they were 
honest and genuine beyond the belief of our modern complex 
society. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the noted novelist, came up 
from Florida for a vacation in the mountains, was struck by the 
complete individuality of the hill people, and turning from her 
interest in the Florida scene, painted those people in moving 

The Carolina Piedmont, also, has received its ample share of 
attention from short story writers. The varied life of this foot- 
hills country has been richly interpreted by all those artists who 
have been attracted to it. Wilbur Daniel Steele, born in Greens- 
boro, spent most of his years elsewhere, but returned to Chapel 
Hill to reside in 1930 and 1931. While there he wrote "Town 
Drunk," a long short story and one of the most deeply affecting 
studies ever made of the North Carolina scene. It traces the 
seething industrial, educational, religious, and intellectual strug- 
gle in this state during its fight for national recognition — and 
also the tense tragedy of one who lost his life and character, but 
not his soul, in the fight. It is truly a noble story by one of 
America's foremost writers ; and yet in 1946 it was not included 
in a so-called representative collection of The Best Short Stories 
of Wilbur Daniel Steele. 

Marion Sims of Charlotte and Frances Gray Patton of Durham 
have directed attention to our North Carolina cities in many 
stories published in the widely circulated magazines. They have 
written the same type of appealing stories which Margaret Bus- 
bee Shipp of Raleigh did a generation before them. From Win- 
ston-Salem, Pierson Ricks, whose excellent novel The Hunter's 
Horn appeared recently, has for many years been contributing 
stories to the national periodicals. The writers' colony in Chapel 
Hill is well known; besides James Street and Paul Green, there 
are Noel Houston and Phillips Russell, both of whom have de- 
picted the Tar Heel scene with perspicuity and good-natured 
satire. Down in Southern Pines are a host of writers who came 
to the Sandhills for the climate and remained to compose stories 
of the countryside and the people. Struthers and Katharine 
Newlin Burt have gathered about them a group who have brought 
fame to this section of our state. Almet Jenks, Hugh MacNair 

210 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Kahler, Ernest M. Poate, Clements and Katharine Ball Ripley, 
and Ruth Burr Sanborn deserve the admiration of all Carolinians 
for the tenderness and ability with which they have written 
about the peach country. 

One Southern Pines name stands out, however, from all the 
others. It is true that his great-great-grandfather settled in 
North Carolina when he came from England and that his grand- 
father had a large estate in North Carolina, but James Boyd was 
a Pennsylvanian and thirty years old before he came here to live. 
Nevertheless, few writers have given their hearts to any state 
as James Boyd gave his to North Carolina. In his novels, Drums 
and Marching On, as well as in such short stories as "Old Pines," 
"Bloodhound," and "Civic Crisis," James Boyd speaks out in the 
simple and powerful tones of one who loves the soil and respects 
the people who live on it. Thomas Wolfe, Paul Green, James 
Boyd— these three must surely, at the present time, constitute 
our literary triumvirate. And yet I regret to report that James 
Boyd's short stories have never been collected, that they lie even 
now in the yellowing magazine files of our university libraries. 
Assuredly, North Carolina has yet to pay its debt to James Boyd. 

Of the country along the Atlantic Seaboard, perhaps Paul 
Green is our most noted writer. Primarily a dramatist, he is 
a novelist, an essayist, and a short story writer as well. Most 
of his tales concern the Negroes and the white share-croppers, 
types among whom he grew up in Harnett County. Ranging 
from ludicrous comedy to frenzied tragedy, these beautiful, lucid 
stories have appeared in two volumes, Wide Fields (1928) and 
Salvation on a String (1946) . 

William Polk of Warrenton, now associate editor of the Greens- 
boro Daily News, at one time was the only city mayor in America 
who was also a professional short story writer. Like Paul 
Green, he writes of the tenant farmer, both white and black, 
but he can also compose vivid satires on the country gentry as 
well as on the small-town provincials. 

Bernice Kelly Harris, the noted novelist, has published several 
stories with an eastern Carolina backdrop. The farming people 
are her principal interest. In Portulaca (1941) Mrs. Harris 
included three short stories which illustrate her splendid pro- 
ficiency as well as her ability to create diversified characters and 

North Carolina Short Stories 211 

situations of more than one general type. Joseph Mitchell of 
Fairmont has published in The New Yorker many humorous 
sketches of the tobacco country. The best of them later appeared 
in McSorley's Wonderful Saloon (1943), the work of a really 
fine talent. 

Charles W. Chesnutt deserves special mention for his delight- 
ful folk-tales in The Conjure Woman (1899). In them is pic- 
tured the kindly old slave, good-humored and likable, but also 
shy enough to make his short stories pay practical dividends. 
These seven tales, told from the viewpoint of the white man who 
has respect and toleration for the picturesque "darkey," were 
written by a Negro who lived his formative years in Fayetteville 
and wrote profusely of the Cape Fear River country. Chesnutt, 
is generally conceded to be the first Negro writer to use the short 
story as a serious medium of expression. 

Now let us move to the extreme east. The coast of North 
Carolina has not received the fictional treatment from short 
story writers which it deserves. There have been quite a few 
isolated stories of Manteo, Kitty Hawk, Cape Lookout, and Dia- 
mond Shoals ; but no one writer has taken this area as his pecu- 
liar territory for presentation in the short story. A half century 
ago Sara Beaumont Kennedy of Tennessee wrote a number of 
historical stories of New Bern and Ocracoke, in which Blackbeard 
and Governor Tryon stalked the boards ; but as these pieces were 
never gathered together in a volume, they are now difficult to 
locate in the old magazines. There is yet to arrive that writer 
who will focus attention on the dramatic lives of our sea-going 

And so we come to the end of this speedy survey of short story 
writers in North Carolina. Though much of the rich material 
has been utilized, there still remain copious veins of untapped 
gold ore. It needs only the artist's perception and strength and 
competence to transmute it into stories of opulent brilliance. We 
Tar Heels have indeed been lucky in our literary interpreters 
through the medium of the short story. They have meant much 
to us and the future interpreters will mean even more; but they 
need the appreciative encouragement from such organizations 
as the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, and 
this inspiration we must find some way to give them. 



By Lodwick Hartley 

Reading for the Mayflower Cup contest is like taking a con- 
ducted tour through intellectual North Carolina. During the 
past year twenty-six books have been published by twenty-five 
North Carolinians. The subject matter of these publications 
covers a wide range, including the fields of fiction, poetry, biogra- 
phy, literary criticism, history, sociology, oceanography, politics 
and government, religion, and education. Although it has not 
been an extraordinarily rich year for North Carolina letters, it 
has been a year in which several works of unusual merit have 
been produced. 

The quantity and the quality of the output are cause for pride 
enough. If there is anything at all disappointing about the 
booklist for the year, it is the small number of works represent- 
ing outstanding new literary talent. The major contributions 
to the list are the products of the state's best established writers 
and scholars, most of whom have published widely and some of 
whom have been awarded the Mayflower Cup in previous years. 
In general, creative writing has been less in evidence than work 
involving research and assimilation. 

In the field of creative writing, five North Carolinians have 
produced works of fiction : four novels and one volume of short 
stories and novelettes. Two of the novels are romantic historical 
novels, reflecting the vogue for Actionized history that has swept 
the country for the past five or six years. The other two works 
employ the contemporary scene. One is a novel for children. 

In Toil of the Brave Mrs. Inglis Fletcher continues her series 
of colorful and exciting novels depicting the Albemarle district 
during the colonial period and the Revolution. Though Mrs. 
Fletcher is not a native of the state, she belongs to it by ancestry 
and by choice. Few native North Carolinians, aside from the 
professional historians, know so much about the history of the 
state as she does ; and no one has done so much as she has done 
to give to the colonial history of North Carolina the kind of 
glamor that heretofore has been attributed almost solely to the 

[ 212 ] 

North Carolina Books and Authors 213 

colonial history of South Carolina and Virginia. From Mrs. 
Fletcher's pages the Edenton of colonial days (called by her 
"Queen Anne's Town") emerges as bright a jewel as Charles Town 
or Williamsburg. The author depicts its lively, clever women, 
its well-educated and well-bred men, its fine old estates, the gra- 
ciousness of its life. Since she is a good storyteller, she adds the 
excitement of adventure. She is unblushingly a romanticist, but 
she bolsters her fictional material with painstaking historical 
research. This fourth novel of her series has a time-setting 
in the period after Washington's bitter winter at Valley Forge 
when the fortunes of the Americans were at a low ebb, when 
the war was ominously moving southward, and when cabals and 
conspiracies were forming against Washington. In North Caro- 
lina families were divided against themselves. There was riot- 
ing in Queen Anne's Town, and British agents were attempting 
to foment an uprising among the slaves. Against such an excit- 
ing backdrop Mrs. Fletcher's lively characters move. 

Like Mrs. Fletcher, Mrs. Katherine Newlin Burt (long a 
winter resident of Southern Pines) is a veteran novelist. Her 
most recent novel, Close Pursuit, is one of a long series of her 
successes in fiction. Unlike Mrs. Fletcher, she becomes some- 
thing of an apostate and writes a story of colonial Williamsburg. 
The result is a romance of superior order, filled with color and 
action. The story of the English governess who falls in love 
with the son of a Virginia planter is told with the craftsmanship 
that has distinguished most of her stories perennially popular 
in the women's magazines. 

Mrs. Marian Sims of Charlotte has also won a wide audience 
in magazines. With the exception of one historical novel, her 
work has been contemporary in setting. Her sixth novel, Storm 
Before Daybreak, is realistic fiction with a very timely theme. 
The hero of the story, an ex-Marine, returns from the war to 
find the once familiar world of his home town hardly recogniz- 
able. His friends are gone, his mother is dead, and in his house 
he finds the wife and baby of a worthless brother who has de- 
serted them. This potentially dramatic situation Mrs. Sims de- 
velops skillfully into a study of post-war readjustment. She 
knows how to tell a story, her style is straightforward and 

214 The North Carolina Historical Review 

strong, and her picture of life in a contemporary North Carolina 
city is accurate both in detail and in implication. 

Salvation on a String is a collection of short stories and short 
novels, old and new, by North Carolina's most distinguished 
dramatist, Paul Green. The setting is Little Bethel and the 
surrounding farms in eastern North Carolina, and the characters 
are the same warmly portrayed natives who have made Mr. 
Green's folk dramas internationally famous. In his stories as 
in his plays one finds a rich harvest of materials and moods: 
tragedy and comedy, stark realism and tender romance, poetry 
and prose. No other artist has so perfectly understood the North 
Carolina rural scene or has understood better the yeoman farmer 
and the Negro sharecropper. And few North Carolina writers 
have achieved the fierce indignation for social injustice and the 
lofty tenderness for human suffering that Mr. Green reveals in 
everything that he writes. Mr. Green has long been successful 
in prose fiction, though his fame as a dramatist has tended to 
obscure the fact. The present volume should be proof enough 
of his talented versatility. 

The final work of fiction is River Treasure, a novel for children 
by Mrs. Mebane Holoman Burgwyn of Woodland. The story 
of an orphan Negro boy, his dog, and a buried treasure is told 
with feeling and charm. The setting is the fertile region of 
eastern North Carolina known as the Occoneechee Neck ; and the 
Roanoke River plays an important role in the action. Mrs. 
Burgwyn demonstrates admirable skill in handling local color 
details and in maintaining suspense. The unusually fine illus- 
trations by Ralph Ray, another North Carolinian, make the book 
one of the most attractive juvenile books of the year. 

Of the two poets included in the list for this year, Miss Lucy 
Cherry Crisp (now secretary of the North Carolina Art Society) 
has for some years been known in eastern North Carolina for 
her interest both in art and in letters. Brief Testament is her 
second volume. As the title suggests, her verse is lyrical. Her 
poetic materials are found mainly in the small things of life that 
mirror the joys and problems of living. To quote from one of 
her reviewers, she cries out "in her song for strength and cour- 
age and the acceptance of things as they are." Miss Crisp has 

North Carolina Books and Authors 215 

a delicate sensitivity to moods, as well as a trained ear for 
melody. Moreover, she can write with admirable simplicity and 

The author of the second volume of poetry, Dr. Johnson's 
Waterfall, reveals a new and brilliant talent for light verse easily 
comparable with that of any other poet now writing in the same 
vein. For several years Mrs. Helen Bevington, the wife of a 
professor of English literature at Duke University, has been 
delighting the readers of The Atlantic Monthly and The New 
Yorker with her witty verses. The present volume collects her 
best work. Many of the poems are concerned with the humors of 
literature and literary characters. Some give the poet's reac- 
tions to being a Yankee faculty wife in a Southern university. 
Another group provides poems of observations on people and 
customs, and a final group is composed of personal lyrics. Mrs. 
Bevington writes with ease, incisiveness, and compactness; her 
wit is rapier-like; and her sense of timing is often exquisite. 
What she says about the English poets in a few lines should be 
the envy of every maker of epigrams from Ben Jonson to F. P. 
Adams and Dorothy Parker. Witness the following : 

Wordsworth had a natural daughter 
Far away from Derwentwater, 
But nature poems he could make 
Better at an English lake. 

The poet kissed by Jenny once, 
Leigh Hunt had seven little Hunts 
Whose mother's name was Marianne. 
He was a sentimental man. 

In the field of autobiography Mr. Josephus Daniels contributes 
Shirt Sleeve Diplomat, the fifth volume of a monumental work 
that promises to be North Carolina's most considerable contribu- 
tion to American autobiography. In his own rare way Mr. 
Daniels tells the story of his ambassadorship to Mexico in the 
stirring and critical years in which that neighbor to the south 
was undergoing a sweeping social revolution involving the Cath- 
olic Church and American oil interests. The book is full of dra- 
matic incidents and anecdotes. At the same time it is sound 

216 The North Carolina Historical Keview 

reporting. One leaves the volume with the feeling that one has 
been given an inside view of the "Good Neighbor Policy" of 
which Mr. Daniels has become a shining symbol. 

Tempestuous Petticoat is a delightful combination of biogra- 
phy and autobiography in which Miss Clare Leighton, one of the 
foremost wood engravers of our time, now a resident of Durham, 
records her English childhood and the indelible impression made 
on her by her mother, Marie Connor Leighton, a writer of popu- 
lar serial novels. Rarely has a daughter created a more candid 
or a more fascinating portrait of a mother. The comparison of 
Miss Leighton's study of her mother with Clarence Day's book 
on his father is inevitable. Although the books represent some- 
what different approaches to the same sort of material, they both 
present amusingly eccentric people who reflect an era. Miss 
Leighton's book is rich in detail and in humor. 

The third entry, under biography and autobiography is an 
unusual volume by the late Upton Gwynn Wilson, My Thirty- 
Three Years in Bed. When the author was serving as a youth- 
ful railroad division superintendent, he was shot by a drink- 
crazed Negro cook whom he had discharged from a track gang. 
Doomed to lifelong invalidism on account of an injury to his 
spinal cord, he made a valiant fight not only to support himself 
but also to live usefully and significantly. From his bed he 
operated a complicated farm, organized a large magazine sub- 
scription agency, and wrote steadily for a Winston-Salem news- 
paper. His posthumous volume is a spirited and touching 
record of his gallant fight. Though it was designated primarily 
to give courage to the physically handicapped (especially those 
who have returned maimed from World War II), it is void of 
sentimentality and cheap optimism. Moreover, it is written 
with such vigor and skill that its appeal may easily be consider- 
ably wider than the audience for which it was written. 

During the year two handsomely printed studies in literary 
criticism by a former graduate student at Duke University and 
by an English professor at the same institution have been issued 
by the University of North Carolina Press. The first, The 
Satiric and the Didactic in Ben Jonson's Comedy by Helena 
Watts Baum, is a competent study of Shakespeare's greatest 

North Carolina Books and Authors 217 

contemporary with the object of demonstrating that too much 
emphasis has been placed on his moralizing and didacticism. 
Mrs. Baum points out that Jonson, like George Bernard Shaw 
of our own time, designed his plays (as Shaw put it) "to induce, 
not voluptuous reverie but intellectual interest, not romantic 
rhapsody but humane concern. ,, At the same time, Jonson's 
literary theory permitted as much emphasis on the aesthetic as 
on the didactic; and even when he was moralizing he was con- 
cerned not so much with the narrow rules of conduct as with 
stupidity and ignorance. 

The second study in literary criticism is On the Composition of 
Paradise Lost by Professor Allan H. Gilbert. So flawless is the 
structure of Milton's great epic, argues Professor Gilbert, that 
the reader is not conscious of the rearrangement, the patching 
and the adaptation of material that went on in the creative 
process before the poem reached its final form. Through an 
examination of inconsistencies in the poem, Professor Gilbert 
has arrived at an order of precedence of the various parts that 
gives a new conception of the way in which Paradise Lost came 
into being. He also erects an intricate argument to support a 
theory that Milton adapted to the purpose of his epic previously 
written and now lost tragedies on the Fall of Man and on Adam's 
banishment. The book is a mature, ingenious, and provocative 
study by one of our most distinguished Milton scholars. Though 
all its conclusions may not be acceptable to every scholar in the 
field, it is a major contribution to studies in English literature. 

Of the seven historical studies only two are written by profes- 
sional historians. Though in some of the studies there may be 
instances in which a critic could wish that more scientific meth- 
ods of research had been used, the fact that most of them were 
written con amore does not detract from their considerable con- 
tribution to their fields. The variety is noteworthy. The studies 
include a monograph on a region and the industry that gives it 
significance, a history of Indians in North Carolina, a county 
history, a history of prohibition in the state, a history of printing 
in the state, and the histories of two major North Carolina edu- 
cational institutions. 

In Ducktown Back in Raht's Time Mr. R. E. Barclay has writ- 
ten an absorbing regional story of the Great Copper Basin in 

218 The North Carolina Historical Review 

southeastern Tennessee and of the development of the copper 
industry there. As an official in the large copper company whose 
history has been that of the area, Mr. Barclay brings to his 
narrative a warm personal interest and a wealth of facts and 
insights that one less closely connected with the industry could 
not have had. He combines the historical and the sociological 
approach with success, and he gives his story vivid human in- 
terest by focussing much of his attention on Julius Eckhard Raht, 
a fabulous emigrant from Germany who rose from the humble 
position of a captain in the copper mine to virtual control of the 
Basin and to the distinction of being "the richest man in Ten- 

The Reverend Douglas L. Rights of Winston-Salem has had a 
lifetime interest in Indian history and lore. The American 
Indian in North Carolina is the fine harvest of that interest. 
Here for the first time between the boards of a single book is a 
comprehensive survey of Indian history and life in North Caro- 
lina. Mr. Rights has read widely and has made a thorough 
study of the region in which the most significant events in his 
study took place. He has digested succinctly most of the pre- 
vious research, he has quoted at length from the most important 
early travel accounts dealing with Indians, and he has added 
information of his own. Although he may not have said the 
final word on Indian history in North Carolina, he has written 
an entertaining and illuminating book. 

Mrs. Sadie Smathers Patton, the author of The Story of Hen- 
derson County, has also devoted many years of study to her 
subject. As a result she has been able to produce a record of 
her own county that will be a worthy addition to county histories 
of the state. With full detail she traces the story of Henderson 
County from the Cherokee occupation to the present day, giving 
attention to its social, economic, and cultural development. 
Whether she is telling the story of Flat Rock as a glamorous 
resort region before the War Between the States or the story of 
modern Hendersonville, her narrative holds interest. 

The History of Printing in North Carolina by Dr. George W. 
Paschal, like the Reverend Mr. Rights' book on Indian history, 
attempts for the first time to tell in one volume the story of an 

North Carolina Books and Authors 219 

important aspect of North Carolina history — the story of print- 
ing and the printing industry in the state up to the present day. 
It has an unusual approach in that it takes as its central subject 
one of the state's oldest and most important printing firms, re- 
lating to it the general history of the state and particularly the 
history of the printing industry. For the lay reader the book 
will provide a stimulating and valuable survey. To the scholar 
it will be welcomed as a highly desirable supplement to studies 
in the history of North Carolina printing done in the past by 
S. B. Weeks, C. C. Crittenden, Douglas C. McMurtrie, Miss Mary 
Lindsay Thornton, and others. 

Professor Daniel Jay Whitener of Appalachian State Teachers 
College has written a thorough-going and competent study called 
Prohibition in North Carolina, 1715-1945, the first comprehensive 
work on prohibition in the state. The study begins early enough 
to analyze in detail the forces that give rise to the temperance 
movement before the Civil War ; and it demonstrates how from 
the turn of the century North Carolina political activity has 
been influenced by state prohibition and the movement to repeal 

Two of the books classified under history are on the borderline 
between autobiographical and historical writing. They are the 
work of two widely known college presidents who tell in an 
informal style the stories of the institutions with which they 
were long connected. In Memories of Davidson College Dr. 
Walter L. Lingle records his memories of the growth and devel- 
opment of the distinguished Presbyterian school for men as 
he knew it as student, as trustee, and finally as president. In 
A Romance of Education the late Dr. Samuel Bryant Turrentine 
does the same service for Greensboro College, the "first college 
for women chartered by the Methodist Church" in America. 
Both of these works will be of greatest value to the alumni and 
alumnae of these institutions. At the same time they make 
considerable contributions to the history of education in North 

In the field of politics and government, Jonathan Daniels has 
contributed Frontier on the Potomac, in which he resumes the 
report on America that he began most auspiciously with A South- 

220 The North Carolina Historical Review 

erner Discovers the South and that he very successfully con- 
tinued in A Southerner Discovers New England and in Tarheels. 
Speaking in journalistic terms, one may call his latest book a 
"human interest story" on American government. Mr. Daniels 
has resolved the abstraction that we call the government of the 
United States into the thousands of people from cabinet members 
to filing clerks who make Washington a vast ant hill. The 
reader is given an exciting tour behind the Washington scenes 
into senatorial committee meetings, into "unofficial" conferences 
in hotel rooms, to stiff state dinners, to cocktail parties where 
the big-wigs lose their dignity and austerity. The portraits 
are vivid and the observations are acute. The whole is as brisk, 
as informal, and withal as revealing a treatise on government 
as one could wish. It should be required reading not only for all 
bureaucrats but also for all critics of bureaucracy. 

North Carolina's most eminent sociologist, Dr. Howard W. 
Odum of the University in Chapel Hill, has contributed two 
books of the three in sociology published this year by North 
Carolinians : Understanding Society and The Way of the South. 
The first is a study in dynamic sociology designed for the spe- 
cialist rather than for the general reader. It represents scholar- 
ship of the first order in its field, and it provides rich scholarly 
apparatus. The second book, patently designed for the general 
reader, combines Dr. Odum's talents both as a sociologist and as 
a literary artist. If anybody else had attempted a regional study 
written in part in a kind of Whitmanesque verse, the results 
might have been too ghastly to contemplate. Fortunately, Dr. 
Odum is an old hand at doing the original. As a result, he is 
able to give sociological details a fresh kind of expression. 
Instead of speaking of "natural resources," he names mountains 
and rivers, birds and minerals, flowers and field crops. Instead 
of speaking abstractly about "folk" and "culture" he portrays 
people that he has known and describes the life that they live. 
He deals with many significant problems: the people and their 
ways, work, wealth and poverty, race relations, caste and class, 
conflicting regional attitudes. His stated purpose is threefold: 
to discover what is unique about the South and why it is unique ; 
to discover how the South is like the rest of America; and to 

North Carolina Books and Authors 221 

determine what can be done to enable the South to take its best 
place in the framework of the nation. Though Dr. Odum is 
an adverse critic on many occasions, he always brings under- 
standing along with his criticism. The book is not bedside read- 
ing for an unreconstructed rebel. On the other hand, it will 
make good reading for the intelligent and thoughtful Southerner 
who would like to see developed in the South the best elements 
of our native and national cultures. 

North Carolina Today by S. H. Hobbs, Jr., and Marjorie Bond 
is another product of sociological studies at Chapel Hill. The 
book contains sections on natural wealth, on patterns of the 
state's agriculture and industry, and on our institutional wealth, 
together with a concluding section of the place of the state in 
the world today. Designed for high school reading, it is organ- 
ized and written with outstanding competence. 

The volume in the field of oceanography, This Great Wide Sea, 
is the work of Professor R. E. Coker, another eminent member 
of the faculty in Chapel Hill. The conception of all the oceans 
of the world as a great watery unit is as profoundly provocative 
as it should be obvious. In his scholarly survey of oceanogra- 
phy Professor Coker has shown the complicated interrelationship 
of the oceans and has traced their influence on the physical 
world and on man as a social and economic being. Not only the 
surf ace phenomena of the sea but the vast areas and the teeming 
life beneath the sea are the subject of inquiry — 

The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear 
The sapless foliage of the ocean. 

The dynamic mechanism of the seas with the vital interchanges 
of energy between sea, land, and atmosphere, the chemistry and 
physics of the ocean, the zoology of the seas are all part of the 
story. Aside from giving evidence of profound learning and 
careful scholarship, the book is lucidly and entertainingly written. 
Holidays and Holy Days by Professor Hersey Everett Spence 
of the Duke School of Religion is a collection of religious pageants 
and dramatic church services most of which have been presented 
with success in the Duke University Chapel. The work is mo- 
tivated by a desire "to recapture the arts for Christian service" 

222 The North Carolina Historical Review 

and is postulated on the theory that modern Protestantism can 
make use of drama, pageantry, and music to forward its great 
purpose. Though the spirit remains Protestant throughout, 
the idea is in part a return to the efforts of the medieval Church 
to make the liturgy impressive and vivid. Christmas and Easter 
plays and pageants form the bulk of the volume, but material is 
provided for unusual services throughout much of the church 

The final book on the list, Graduate Work in the South, is a 
scholarly work in the field of education by Mrs. Mary Bynum 
Pierson, wife of the Dean of the Graduate School in Chapel Hill. 
This able monograph makes a comprehensive study of the be- 
ginnings and the development of graduate study in the South. 
It achieves a thorough-going analysis of facilities for graduate 
work and of graduate school policies, and it includes a very 
valuable appendix with much tabulated data. The book will 
undoubtedly become a standard work in its field. 

At this point, I believe, it has been the custom of the reviewer 
to mention the difficulties encountered by the judges of the May- 
flower Cup award in the task of selecting "an original work of 
outstanding excellence" from a diversity of types. Last year 
Mr. LeGette Blythe expressed himself so eloquently on the sub- 
ject that he left little more to say. Nevertheless, the problem 
remains. Apparently, the phrase "an original work" in the 
regulations governing the competition is still interpreted broadly 
to include both creative and scholarly writing. So the judges 
are forced to make a decision similar to that which might be 
faced at the State Fair if the judges of fine fruit were called 
upon to choose between the peaches of the sandhills and the 
apples of the Piedmont. The dilemma could be resolved only 
by a realization of the possibility that the best peach might be 
more perfect in its class than the best apple in its own, or vice 
versa. I believe that the judges from the initiation of the award 
have given their decision on some such principle. Like Mr. 
Blythe, I am still not convinced that it is the best one. 

But the policy of admitting many types of books to the contest 
has some advantages. It does permit an annual review of the 
broad cultural interests at work in the state, giving encouraging 

North Carolina Books and Authors 223 

evidence of activity in many areas of thought. It is well that 
an organization such as the state Literary and Historical Asso- 
ciation should have the opportunity of summing up that activity 
and of attempting to stimulate all types of intellectual pursuits. 
I am quite sure that no judge has regretted the diversified read- 
ing that he has been called upon to do. At least for one of the 
judges the task has provided a liberal education. 



Katharine Newlin Burt, Close Pursuit (New York: Charles Scrib- 
ner's Sons, 1947). Pp. 320. 

Mebane Holoman Burgwyn, River Treasure (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1947). Pp. 159. 

Inglis Fletcher, Toil of the Brave (Indianapolis : The Bobbs-Merrill 
Company, 1946) . Pp. 547. 

Marian Sims, Storm Before Daybreak (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippin- 
cott Company, 1946). Pp. 295. 

Paul Green, Salvation on a String and Other Tales of the South (New 
York: Harper and Brothers, 1946.). Pp. 278. 


Helen Bevington, Dr. Johnson' s Waterfall and Other Poems (Bos- 
ton: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1946). Pp. viii, 163. 

Lucy Cherry Crisp, Brief Testament (North Montpelier, Vermont: 
The Driftwind Press, 1947). Pp. 114. 


Josephus Daniels, Shirt-Sleeve Diplomat (Chapel Hill: The Univer- 
sity of North Carolina Press, 1947) . Pp. xix, 547. 

Clare Leighton, Tempestuous Petticoat (New York: Rinehart and 
Company, Inc., 1947). Pp. 272. 

Upton Gwynn Wilson, My Thirty-Three Years of Life in Bed (Pub- 
lished privately, 1946). Pp. x, 213. 

Allan H. Gilbert, On the Composition of Paradise Lost (Chapel Hill: 

The University of North Carolina Press, 1947). Pp. x, 185. 
Helena Watts Baum, The Satiric and the Didactic in Ben Jonson's 

Comedy (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 

1947). Pp. vi, 192. 

224 The North Carolina Historical Review 


R. E. Barclay, Ducktown Back in Raht's Time (Chapel Hill: The 
University of North Carolina Press, 1946). Pp. xi, 286. 

Walter L. Lingle, Memories of Davidson College (Richmond: John 
Knox Press, 1947). Pp. 157. 

George Washington Paschal, A History of Printing in North Caro- 
lina (Raleigh: Edwards and Broughton Company, 1946). Pp. 
xvii, 313. 

Sadie Smathers Patton, The Story of Henderson County (Asheville: 
The Miller Printing Company, 1947). Pp. xvii, 290. 

Douglas L. Rights, The American Indian in North Carolina (Durham: 
Duke University Press, 1947). Pp. xx, 296. 

Samuel Bryant Turrentine, A Romance of Education (Greensboro: 
The Piedmont Press, 1946). Pp. 314. 

Daniel Jay Whitener, Prohibition in North Carolina, 1715-1H5 
(Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1945). 
Pp. ix, 268. 


Jonathan Daniels, Frontier on the Potomac (New York: The Mac- 
millan Company, 1946). Pp. 262. 

Howard W. Odum, The Way of the South Toward the Regional Balance 
of America (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1947). Pp. 
vi, 350. 

Howard W. Odum, Understanding Society (New York: The Macmillan 
Company, 1947) . Pp. vi, 748. 

S. H. Hobbs, Jr., and Marjorie N. Bond, North Carolina Today 
(Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1947). 
Pp. xiii, 420. 

R. E. Coker, This Great and Wide Sea (Chapel Hill: The University 
of North Carolina Press, 1947). Pp. xvii, 325. 

Hersey Everett Spence, Holidays and Holy Days (Greensboro: The 
Piedmont Press, 1946). Pp. 203. 


Mary Bynum Pierson, Graduate Work in the South (Chapel Hill: 

The University of North Carolina Press, 1947) . Pp. xii, 265. 

By Hardin Craig 

Nothing in society or civilization seems to develop at an even 
pace. Indeed, the contrivances of organized society, in politics, 
religion, education, and all the fields of the social sciences, seem 
to degenerate from age to age and are continually in need of 
revival or renewal. This is rather a pity, since it would be a 
convenient thing if we could adjust one thing after another 
as we wind a clock and let them alone to run themselves; but 
nature seems to have decreed its order in another fashion. Men 
forget; generations have changing interests and different ideas 
as to what is interesting and important ; forces opposed to a good 
order organize themselves against it, and since it has no watchful 
defenders, it suffers overthrow or ceases to operate effectively. 
Then too men are naturally indolent, as well as selfish and for- 
getful, so that there seems to be, except perhaps on the most 
inclusive scale of reference, no such thing as gradual progress. 

Forces, we may believe, accumulate, often beneath the surface, 
for long periods, but changes in conventional routine are always 
sudden. Great things are done quickly, and progress, when it 
starts, is not a slow but a rapid affair. More progress in a par- 
ticular line will be made in five or ten years than has been made 
in fifty or a hundred or five hundred years before. Rebellion 
against the tyrannies of Charles I in England had the singular 
effect of setting men's minds free, and there was more vital 
political thinking between 1642 and 1652 than there had been 
since the days of the Gracchi. Witchcraft was a felony both in 
England and America until the third decade of the eighteenth 
century. Then suddenly the climate of opinion changed, and the 
falsity of the whole wretched system became immediately ob- 
vious. Modern chemistry and physics proceeded slowly and ten- 
tatively until the beginning of the present century, when a great 
spurt came with Rutherford and his contemporaries. Chem- 
istry and physics have developed more during your lifetime and 
mine than they did during thousands of years before. The 
same thing is largely true of biology and medicine. 

[ 225 ] 

226 The North Carolina Historical Review 

So far as I can see, the general social and individual mind of 
North Carolina and of our country as a whole, except possibly 
in a few cases, is and has been for some time mainly marking 
time. My tentative judgment is based on a pretty wide knowl- 
edge of the academic world and on my observation that in most 
matters we are not living up to the teachings and principles of 
our ancestors. I say this with great hesitation, for I am not 
sure that I am right. I should therefore like to consider it with 
you, for it is for persons like you and me an interesting and 
important matter. It is particularly important because of what 
might be called the reverse movement in human progress. When 
a high point has been reached, and a certain heat of interest 
and activity achieved, interest always wanes and desuetude takes 
the place of watchfulness. Progress, having reached a height, 
levels off and gradually sinks back to old and unenlightened 
levels. I rather think that we are intellectually wallowing 
about in a trough of commonplace, of repetition, idleness, and 
pleasure seeking. If this is true, or even too widely true, there 
is only one thing to be done about it, that is to take ourselves by 
the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves back to a state of 
activity, a state in which we may better realize our powers and 
more fully live up to our possibilities. We are, I think, badly 
in need of what I referred to as a "jump." We might call it a 
revival or renaissance. 

Discoveries of ideological truth are no doubt often lost, because 
they are not recognized and understood; or, having been ac- 
cepted, they are lost in oblivion, cease to operate, and are dis- 
carded as no longer of any value. They have been in need of 
constant attention and observance, and they have not had it. 
Consequently, the ancient forces of error are revived with new 
captions, new fallacies, and new dark purposes. See, for ex- 
ample, how the hoary doctrines of direct action, totalitarian 
planning, extreme nationalism, the doctrine of protection, and 
the partisan organization of labor are at this time driving from 
the mind of the world the great discovery of liberty under the 
law. I say "the great discovery of liberty under the law," for 
it is a human discovery as important as the smelting of iron or 
printing with movable types. Perhaps you are not used to think- 

Discovery of Political Freedom 227 

ing of ideas as discoveries, but I think you will on reflection 
agree with me that, to humanity, truth in every field is actually 
discovery, although ideological discovery has more difficulty in 
finding recognition and understanding and is more liable to be 
forgotten and superseded than are discoveries in the area of 
tools and machinery. My contention on this occasion is that 
political liberty is itself a discovery of the first magnitude. 

Cultural evolution, like biological evolution, is a slow process, 
moving through an infinite succession of trial and error. It is 
only now and then at long intervals that men make important 
ideological discoveries. These discoveries are, as I said, con- 
tinually liable to be forgotten or to be superseded by unworthy 
substitutes brought up to serve some specious vanity or selfish 
interest. In this case I know and I do not forget that eternal 
vigilance is the price of liberty. At an earlier time our people 
knew both the value of liberty and that eternal vigilance was the 
price they had to pay for it. We have lost large parts of our 
liberty, and we tend either to grow inert or to enjoy the com- 
forts of political servitude. 

Totalitarianism in one form or another has been the ancient, 
established, authoritarian thing in human government. It is at 
least as old as Babylonia, and at this day the great mass of the 
human race lives under political and social orders which dictate 
to them their exact functions, privileges, and opportunities in 
the body politic. Totalitarianism has always resulted in stulti- 
fication, police control, and the failure of progress; and it will 
always do so, because it depends on the submission of the many 
to the interests of the few. That is its basis. It can have no 
other basis, because no man or set of men can plan the varied 
activities of society and provide it with its own proper, though 
unknown, future. Totalitarianism is, I submit, the exact op- 
posite of individual liberty. At this time this outworn system 
of totalitarianism, equipped with new labels and old fallacies 
in modern dress, is spreading over the world like fire in a 
drought-smitten prairie. 

Totalitarianism is the old and regular thing in human gov- 
ernment. But in the seventeenth century something happened, 
or began to happen, in the mind of the Anglo-Saxon race. John 

228 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Milton saw that the only liberty man can enjoy, indeed the only 
kind of human liberty, is liberty under the law. John Locke 
gave the doctrine clear, adequate, and practical expression. The 
Bill of Rights was promulgated, and later Thomas Jefferson, 
Alexander Hamilton, and others embodied the doctrine of liberty 
under the law in the Declaration of Independence and the Con- 
stitution of the United States. The discovery of the principle 
of liberty under the law was really the discovery of human gov- 
ernment. All other so-called governments are merely different 
forms of human bondage. None of them is in line with nature, 
the course of evolution, and, as we believe, the will of God. If 
we could count on an unending succession of benevolent despots, 
it might be different; but rulers too are human, and power cor- 
rupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

But we must not imagine that when the doctrine of liberty 
under the law was discovered and put into operation it was 
completely accepted or has ever been, nor that the beliefs and 
practices of early inferior systems did not and do not hold sway 
over many of our people and that the practices of the older 
system do not continually reassert themselves and continually 
find advocates and proponents. Our nation has continued to 
practice the principles of ancient mercantilism and has continued 
in the name of democracy to foster special privilege. Monopoly 
of trade and privilege is the primary enemy of popular gov- 
ernment, and we have taken pride in the creation of monopolies. 
There is no wonder that we have disgraced the cause of popular 
government and are now, so to speak, in the last ditch of defense. 
For some reason men dread freedom and find solace in depen- 
dence. Unless we can cure our desuetude, we shall pay for it, 
if not in the titular loss of liberty, then in the loss of individual 
development and the greatness of our people. We have never 
believed that plain people are capable of self-government, and 
yet that proposition was the one discovered by our ancestors. 
We have never fully accepted the second element of our proposi- 
tion. We have been willing to have liberty but not liberty under 
the law. We have always been violators of law and have been 
lacking in respect for law. We do not understand the nature 
of law and recognize its fundamental importance. 

Discovery of Political Freedom 229 

Normally speaking, our form of government is opposed to 
utopianism, and utopianism is its greatest friend and its chieftest 
enemy. Utopianism, such as we see in socialism and communism, 
is valuable in the setting up of ideals and the suggesting of re- 
forms. It becomes the enemy of our system when it claims that 
our kind of government cannot and will not do for its citizens 
every beneficient thing that they or we are able to suggest. I 
have not time to catalogue our shortcomings or the ways in 
which we have failed to carry out the noble and humane program 
of our Revolutionary ancestors. I can only remind you that we 
as a race are now associated in the world's mind with greed of 
gain and economic tyranny. Our birthright was the right to do 
justice and show mercy to all men, to deny special privilege, 
and to open to all men all the roads to all the opportunities. I 
see no reason why we should abrogate our principles and let the 
adherents of various utopian schemes claim our original program 
as their own and gain adherents for themselves because of our 
neglect and infidelity. 

Let us test our democracy by looking at it from still another 
point of view. If the great discovery of our race some three 
hundred years ago was that it is the business of the people to 
govern themselves, government by experts is as truly a violation 
of our principles as is government by bureaucrats. The basis of 
our system is liberty under the law and not government accord- 
ing to economic and political theory. Let me remind you that 
the discovery of our race was that people can govern themselves 
and that system has back of it the successes of the race. So 
again I hear you asking whether the common man can do this. 
The answer is that he can and he has, and that the chief danger 
of the world at this moment is that he should cease to do so or 
be deprived of the opportunity to do so. The human creature 
is far more versatile than he himself is willing to admit. Breadth 
of mind and sound judgment as to right and wrong, folly and 
wisdom, practicability and impracticability are bred by the ex- 
perience of living in every man and reinforced in the race by the 
experience of hundreds of thousands of years. The differences 
between the educated and the uneducated, the cultured and the 
uncultured, are far smaller than we think. There is a lively 

230 The North Carolina Historical Review 

possibility that the American people will take their own affairs 
into their own hands. We may yet have the courage and good 
sense to destroy monopoly and special privilege and to punish 
the baleful practices of organized labor. We know what to do 
without the dictation of experts or of business or of labor, and 
that is the very essence of the great discovery made by our race 
two hundred and fifty years ago. We need, and we may yet 
find, men who have the character and intelligence to coordinate, 
synthesize, and put into practice the findings of experts. Such 
men are known by the dignified name of statesmen. 

We must do far better during the next generation than we have 
during the last two. We have allowed our clear and simple 
doctrine to be blurred by forgetfulness and neglect, by selfish- 
ness, by apparent prosperity, by sophistry and fallacy, perhaps 
by Veblen and Keynes. At present the doctrine of liberty under 
the law is seriously questioned in England and almost forgotten 
in America, so that we do not know what to say when we are 
attacked. Modern democracy, which differs from ancient de- 
mocracy basically in its insistence on liberty under the law, i.e., 
its insistence on responsibility as well as freedom, is not a sim- 
ple system. It is as complicated as society itself and as 
applicable to varied conditions as are liberty and law themselves. 
It demands profound study and constant adjustment. It is now 
neglected. Our people are ignorant of its principles and its 
merits as a system of government. Our ignorance, a relatively 
recent situation, must be cured by the education of old and young 
alike, and I do not mean that this greatly needed study must be 
confined to experts. The famous discovery, you will remember, 
was government by the people in accordance with their normal 
intellectual and moral fitness. They were to apply to their gov- 
ernment their natural interests as individuals and as citizens of 
a state. This is not to say that the education of the people is not 
of prime importance in our republic. Jefferson saw that it was, 
and he was right ; but it is the education of the citizens and not 
the education of the specialist in any line or of the social and 
political expert in which the interest of our country lies. Our 
ignorance must be cured and our institutions must be reformed. 

The matter of the government of a state is not so empirical, 

Discovery of Political Freedom 231 

not so subject to experimental determination, as our age seems 
to think it is. I know why totalitarian, or other governments 
by the few, can operate only by force and are bound to bring 
with them the evils I mentioned before, namely, discontent, stul- 
tification, and tyranny. Such governments are not in line with 
nature or with human nature, and no experimental variations 
will put them in line. In this connection I have made what 
seems to be a discovery of far-reaching importance in this and 
other fields. At least I cannot find that it has come to the atten- 
tion of writers on ethics and jurisprudence. It will seem an 
extravagant claim, and I can only say that I have not been able 
to find it. It resides in a well known distinction in the field of 
ethics and provides a fundamental reason why government by 
the people in accordance with the doctrine of liberty under the 
law is the best and, in fact, the only workable form of human 

The distinction between the duties which a man owes to him- 
self and those which he owes to his fellow men is as old as Aris- 
totle, and yet the enormously important social inferences which 
follow from that distinction seem to have escaped notice. I 
shall, on this occasion, state the matter only in the briefest way. 
To yourselves you owe all those things which pertain to temper- 
ance in bodily gratifications and in things which enrich and 
adorn your lives. You owe it to yourselves to avoid selfishness. 
Specifically, you owe it to yourselves to be studious, sober, chaste, 
modest, decent, contented, frugal, industrious, liberal, broad- 
minded, and religious. You owe it to yourselves to restrain an 
over-ambitious spirit, also to abstain from that kind of pride 
that might make you value yourselves more highly than you 
deserve and to avoid that kind of cowardice which may result 
from virtuous intentions, such as excessive prudence or over- 
zealous self-denial. Fortitude and patience you owe to your- 
selves, although these also appear among the duties you owe to 
your fellow men. Now, these matters are by nature your busi- 
ness and nobody else's business. As soon as you intrude them on 
others, you become a prig, a nuisance, or a tyrant. As soon as 
they are intruded on you, you become to some degree at least a 
slave. It is a long and surprisingly difficult list ; but these duties 

232 The North Carolina Historical Review 

are between you and your Maker, whose divine assistance you 
will need in order that you may put them in practice. If this 
field is entered or preempted, you have no freedom, no happi- 
ness, no self-realization. 

Over against this list are the duties you owe to your neighbors. 
It is, relatively speaking, a simple, happy and easy list, particu- 
larly on the positive side. The first rule is, we shall not interfere 
with the personal freedom of our neighbors. We must exercise 
charity, including humaneness, good will, brotherly love, and hos- 
pitality. We should strive to avoid voluntary injury to any one, 
to offer or take no improper offense, to be ready to forgive, to 
accord to others such respect as we ourselves desire, and to re- 
frain from slander. These virtues are the basis of popularity 
and human influence; they are profitable. On the negative side 
of these virtues lies obedience to law, and the whole field of the 
law takes up where private duty ends. 

There are of course mixed cases, but, in general, this division 
in the field of ethics gives one the doctrine of liberty under the 
law in a nutshell. Unless we injure our fellow men, we have a 
natural right to object to restraint upon our liberty. Man has 
a right by nature and in evolution to the control of his personal 
life. This personal life is made up mainly of the duties he owes 
to himself, including the duties he owes to God, whose hell-fire 
(if it exists) he must endure alone. The only recognized control 
is what we call public opinion. 

These are the things which Jefferson, without exactly knowing 
why, declared vaguely to be "self-evident," as to be sure they are: 
that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their 
Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are 
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. My attempt is to 
shove the Jeffersonian principle one stage further back, and, in 
so doing, to ground it in the science of ethics. 

Let me illuminate my discovery, if it is a discovery, by a refer- 
ence to the so-called Fourth Freedom of the Atlantic Charter. I 
do not think it can be considered an addition to man's inalienable 
rights, but rather as a much needed development of democratic 
government (whose business is to establish justice) in the field 
of the duties which men owe to their fellow men. 


By Julian P. Boyd 

If the generation contemporary with Thomas Jefferson had 
been asked to define "the Police State," the answer no doubt 
would have been that given by Blackstone. "By the public 
police and economy," he declared, "I mean the due regulation 
and domestic order of the Kingdom." But if Jefferson had been 
asked to define a government which compels its citizens to sub- 
scribe to certain beliefs, which orders their lives according to 
the dictates of a given philosophy, compelling uniformity and 
implicit obedience, his answer undoubtedly would have been 
unequivocal : such a government, he would have asserted, was a 
tyrant. The term that Jefferson and his contemporaries em- 
ployed to describe such uses of governmental power is the better 
one. All states, even those founded upon a recognition of the 
rights and liberties of the individual, possess and must exercise 
police powers — the power to enforce the laws, to protect citizens 
in their lives and property, and to promote the general welfare 
and policing of the commonwealth in the Blackstonian sense. 
Under modern usage the term "police state," redundant if not 
ambiguous, has sinister meanings. 

But it was the substance of tyranny, not its terminology, that 
engaged the lifelong enmity and attention of Jefferson. The 
forms of tyranny that Jefferson and his contemporaries feared 
impress us today as being innocent in comparison with those that 
we face. Jefferson's savage delineation of the malevolent will of 
George III was made to justify a cause, not to set forth a his- 
torical treatise. The tyrannical figure that he saw revealed in 
the purpose of the Hanoverian king has been metamorphosed by 
history into the vacant, stubborn, and rather stupid countenance 
of a British Tory. Yet the issues that Jefferson's generation 
faced were no less real than those which confront us. I think 
it will be instructive, therefore, if we examine a part of his un- 
paralleled career, characterized as it was by a constant, unremit- 
ting, and universal denial of authority unjustly exercised. It 
is both hazardous and presumptuous to say what part of his 
philosophy Jefferson would abandon, what part he would retain, 

[ 233 ] 

234 The North Carolina Historical Review 

what new concepts he would adopt if he were faced with the 
manifold tyrannies of the twentieth century. Though he was a 
relativist in political and moral philosophy, there were certain 
fundamental principles that he regarded as unchanging. Know- 
ing history, he knew that the beliefs, the ideals, and the condi- 
tions of men varied with the region and the age. Yet, through- 
out life, he was uncompromisingly devoted to two enduring 
propositions : a belief in the natural rights and liberties of indi- 
vidual men and a dedication of all his powers to an unceasing 
warfare against any form of infringement of those rights. "I 
have sworn upon the altar of God," he declared, "eternal hos- 
tility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." 
This was not, let us note, the tyranny of George III and his 
ministers, not the tyranny of certain philosophies of government 
that he assailed, but "every form of tyranny over the mind of 

It is possible that our examination of a part of Jefferson's 
career may illuminate this point to some degree. I have pur- 
posely chosen that phase of his career which reveals the philoso- 
pher and the statesman in action, rather than that which presents 
the reflective and detached sage, looking down from Monticello 
on the busy affairs, the foibles, and the contests of his fellow men 
after his own work was done. For "It is thus," Nicholas Biddle 
said in his Eulogium on Thomas Jefferson, "that philosophy best 
fulfills her destiny, when coming from her seclusion into the 
arena of life she shares and leads in defending the cause of truth 
and freedom. This is not easy ; for many who were conspicuous 
in retirement have failed in action, over burthened by their 
preparation, as men sick under the weight of their own armour. 
But to succeed — to combine the knowledge of the schools and of 
the world — to be learned in books and things and yet be able to 
govern men, to deserve that most illustrious of all names — a 
philosophical statesman : this is at once the highest benefit which 
study can bestow on the world and the noblest reward which the 
world can confer on learning. This was the singular merit of 

In the autumn of 1776, at the age of thirty-three, Jefferson 
arrived at Williamsburg to enter upon his duties as a member 

Thomas Jefferson and the Police State 235 

of the House of Delegates from Albemarle County. He had 
come with a purpose. A few months earlier, as a member of 
the Virginia delegation in the Continental Congress, he had 
drafted a proposed constitution for his native state. If the evi- 
dence lying in the rough drafts of his papers means anything, 
it is apparent that the drawing up of this fundamental law 
engaged his best thought and industry to a degree not equalled 
even by the responsibility for drafting the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. This was natural. The Declaration of Independence 
only required that Jefferson should be the inspired amanuensis 
of the people, that he should produce a memorable "expression 
of the American mind" and that he should lay before a candid 
world the philosophy of government as viewed in the "harmoniz- 
ing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, 
in letters, printed essays, or the elementary books of public right, 
such as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sydney, etc." This task he had 
discharged so well that he compressed within a single immortal 

paragraph a whole system of philosophy: that the universe is 
governed by natural law; that all men, being created equal, 
possess under natural law certain inherent and inalienable rights ; 
that government is instituted to protect these rights; that any 
government — any government, monarchy, oligarchy, dictator- 
ship or republic — undertaking to violate these rights can be 
altered or overthrown, since all government rests on the consent 
of the governed. 

Yet, incomparably great as was the "common sense of the sub- 
ject" that Jefferson expressed in the Declaration of Independence, 
the task of ordering new governments to replace the one over- 
thrown was the most urgent and compelling task to which he 
could address himself. Being forced to remain at his post in 
Philadelphia, he had watched impatiently and with growing 
concern the efforts of the Virginia Convention of 1776 to frame 
a new system of government for the state. Would the new form 
give full expression to the philosophy of revolution and of the 
consent of the governed, now being tried on a grand scale for the 
first time in history? Would the rights and liberties of the 
people be protected and guaranteed? Would the vestiges of 
monarchial government, unsuited to the principles of a republic, 

236 The North Carolina Historical Review 

be completely eradicated from the structure of government? 
These were the questions that Jefferson must have pondered 
impatiently during the summer months of 1776. It is an ironic 
fact that he, supremely qualified by the study of history, of law, 
and of government and possessed also of a deep and pervading 
passion for republican principles, should have been denied by 
an accident of history the opportunity to assist in framing the 
fundamental law of his native state in 1776 and of his country 
in 1787. In both instances, watching from a distance, he could 
not be fully satisfied with the result. In both instances he 
brought every influence to bear in the hope that individual rights 
and liberties would be fully protected. In 1776 he did something 
more: he resigned from Congress in order to take part in the 
unprecedented adventure of framing a government of the people, 
by the people, and for the people. "I knew," he declared, "that 
our legislation under the regal government had many very vicious 
points which urgently required reformation, and I thought I 
could be of more use in forwarding that work." 

He had scarcely arrived in Williamsburg that fateful October 
when an express arrived from John Hancock, President of the 
Continental Congress. The letter that the messenger bore in- 
formed Jefferson that the Congress had designated him, with 
Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane, as Minister to France. 
Here was an assignment both urgent in its appeal to public duty 
and pleasant in its private rewards. Jefferson had long wished 
for the opportunity to see the Paris of Diderot, of Voltaire, and 
of Rousseau. He knew, as all thoughtful men in 1776 did, that 
the American cause and the hope of establishing the republican 
experiment in government, were foredoomed to failure unless 
European nations, France in particular, could be persuaded to 
assist the all but defenseless colonies in their contest with the 
might of the English army and navy. Everything, in short, 
depended upon the mission to which his country now had assigned 
him. It would do little good to draft constitutions and to revise 
codes of law if British forces triumphed over American. On the 
other hand, what was the revolution about if laws and constitu- 
tions continued to be cast in traditional molds? Why seek 
foreign aid to bolster the outward forms of these did not square 

Thomas Jefferson and the Police State 237 

with principles of government that had been set forth in the 
Declaration of Independence by which alone revolution could be 
justified? For three days Jefferson kept Hancock's messenger 
waiting while he wrestled with this dilemma. It was a fateful 
moment both for him and for his country. In the end he reached 
a decision that history has proved to be wise. He decided to 
remain at home and to help lay the foundations for a government 
truly republican. 

This, not the diplomatic jockeyings at European courts, was 
the task for which Jefferson had been preparing since such 
teachers as William Small and George Wythe had opened the ho- 
rizons of his mind, just as he had been prepared, so the stage that 
he now entered was one that could be regarded as a product of the 
centuries. The Greek philosophers, evolving the idea of individual 
liberty, had begun the line of descent. John Locke, Algernon 
Sidney, and a host of others, dealing with principles of "elemen- 
tary right," had contributed their part. By whatever accident 
of history or fate, the climate in which Jefferson found himself, 
the paramount issues before the infant country, and the fructi- 
fying qualities of mind and heart that he possessed brought into 
conjunction all that was required to produce one of the great 
moments of history. Virginia in the last quarter of the eigh- 
teenth century could only be compared with England's expansive 
and yeasty greatness in the days of Elizabeth. Tidewater aris- 
tocrats and yeomen, frontier settlers and piedmont planters — all 
breathed the heady air of the Age of Enlightenment. Dull indeed 
was the mind and callous the heart that could not grasp the self- 
evident truths of that day and respond to the exhilarating chal- 
lenge of a new opportunity in the age-old struggle for liberty. 

The air was filled with belief in the fundamental precepts of 
this Age of Reason. For a thousand years and more the Age 
of Faith, promising fulfillment in heaven if not on earth, had 
held almost undisputed reign over the minds and loyalties of 
men. Whatever the reward beyond this life might have been, the 
fulfillment on earth had been wars and pestilence, hatred, super- 
stition, ignorance, and dwarfed and a trophied vision. The cold 
hand of theology and dogma had been laid upon science. Medi- 
cine, rather than experimenting in its task of healing, was still 

238 The North Carolina Historical Review 

as dogmatic as theology, dominated by the precepts of Galen. 
Astronomy, held in check by anthropocentric delusions, was still 
under the influence of the Ptolemaic cosmogony. But Bacon, 
Copernicus, Vesalius, Spinoza, and countless others had breached 
the walls of dogma and authority. 

Now, heirs of the rich legacy of those of the seventeenth cen- 
tury who had rebelled against authoritarianism in all its forms, 
the eighteenth century found itself on the threshold of a great 
and seemingly boundless opportunity. Faith and authority alone 
had failed. Reason would now be given a chance. The assump- 
tions on which the new faith in reason supplanted the old faith 
in revelation were simple. The universe was governed by nat- 
ural law under which mankind everywhere enjoyed certain 
natural rights. This universal law of nature, as expressed by 
the French writer Volney, was the order which the ruler of the 
universe presented "to the sense and reason of men, to serve 
them as an equal and common rule of conduct, and to guide them, 
without distinction of race or sex, towards perfection and hap- 
piness." This, in some degree, was a restatement of the Chris- 
tian philosophy concerning the origin, nature, and destiny of 
man. But there was this difference : to Volney and Jefferson and 
others of the eighteenth century, man was not innately evil but 
inherently good, capable by the use of his mind of improving 
his lot upon earth, of discovering for himself what the natural 
order of the universe was, of seeking what was good, avoiding 
what was evil, in order that he might move toward perfection 
and happiness. To achieve this progress, man must not only 
recognize the power of his mind and the Tightness of his heart: 
he must be left free to exercise them. Hence the rejection of 
authoritarian controls of every sort that tended to fetter the 
individual's freedom of choice. If man was to govern himself 
wisely, he must have unopposed access to information. He must 
be able to speak freely, to associate with others, to protest against 
abuses, to have the right of the free exercise of conscience in 
matters of religion. Nowhere has this faith in the capacity of 
man for self-government been better stated than in Jefferson's 
famous letter to DuPont de Nemours: "I believe with you that 
morality, compassion, generosity, are innate elements of the 

Thomas Jefferson and the Police State 239 

human constitution; that there exists a right independent of 
force ; that the right to property is founded on our natural wants, 
in the measue with which we are endowed to satisfy these wants, 
and the right to what we acquire by those means without vio- 
lating the similar rights of other sensible beings; that no one 
has a right to obstruct another exercising his faculty innocently 
for the relief of sensibilities made a part of his nature; that jus- 
tice is the fundamental law of society ; that the majority, oppress- 
ing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and 
by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations 
of society ; that action by the citizens in person, in affairs within 
their reach and competence, and in all others by representatives, 
chosen immediately, and removable by themselves, constitutes 
the essence of a republic; that all governments are more or less 
republican in proportion as this principle enters more or less into 
their composition ; and that government by a republic is capable 
of extension over a greater surface of country than any other 

These beliefs about the nature of man, society, and government 
did not necessarily presuppose perfection or even perfectibility. 
Jefferson, being a realist and knowing the history of ancient and 
modern man, was aware of man's capacity for evil, whatever his 
innate goodness. He believed that society, since its law was 
justice, derived from man's virtues; government, since its pur- 
pose was protection, from his propensity to evil. While mon- 
archies and aristocracies, resting on fiat and the accident of birth, 
were tyrannical, popular governments, resting on the consent of 
the people, might also be tyrannical if the majority abused its 
power. Government meant power necessarily and power had its 
own fatal delusions, leading governors to forget right and jus- 
tice. Hence, the necessity for checks and balances, for reducing 
all governments to a minimum, particularly those branches of 
government far removed from the immediate eye of the citizens. 

This was, in the words of Carl Becker, "a humane and engag- 
ing faith. At its best it preached toleration in place of persecu- 
tion, goodwill in place of hate, peace in place of war. It taught 
that beneath all local and temporary diversity, beneath the super- 
ficial traits and talents that distinguish men and nations, all 

240 The North Carolina Historical Review 

men are equal in the possession of a common humanity; and to 
the end that concord might prevail on earth instead of strife, it 
invited men to promote in themselves the humanity which bound 
them to their fellows, and to shape their conduct and their insti- 
tutions in harmony with it." 

But let those who might be deceived into thinking that this 
humane and tolerant faith in man's capacity for rational and 
virtuous action meant passivity or meant an unquestioning ac- 
ceptance of the established order, consider the unfolding of 
Thomas Jefferson's program in the autumn of 1776. This con- 
cept of government, even if it pervaded the very air of America, 
was still only a concept, not very useful unless supported by 
action. Jefferson was no detached philosopher, engaged in spin- 
ning logical theories in a cloistered tower. Armed with the phi- 
losophy that he shared with other enlightened men of his day 
and armed with Franklin's precept — "rebellion to tyrants is 
obedience to God" — he embarked in 1776 upon a program that 
provided the positive, constructive counterpart to the negative 
act of revolution. He was not alone in this. George Mason, 
Richard Henry Lee, George Wythe, Edmund Pendleton, Wilson 
Cary Nicholas, Patrick Henry, and scores of others who for pro- 
bity, intelligence, public virtue, and stalwart republicanism, 
could not be matched in any other era of our history, joined 
forces with him — up to a point. But Jefferson was clearly the 
acknowledged leader in the great task of reform and in some 
respects his radicalism was at least a century in advance of that 
of his fellow rebels. 

If self-government were to be given the chance to succeed, if 
man's right reason and just nature were to be permitted unham- 
pered freedom, much of the vestiges of monarchial governments 
would have to be swept away. An established religion, a class- 
conscious system of education, a method of amassing property 
surrounded by feudal safeguards, and other inheritances of the 
past were at conflict with the first principles of the revolution. 
These were some of the principal social, economic, and religious 
foundation stones on which society was organized in eighteenth- 
century Virginia. To challenge the right of a British Parliament 
to legislate in the internal affairs of Virginia was one thing : but 

Thomas Jefferson and the Police State 241 

to challenge the economic, social, and religious structure of 
the commonwealth itself was something quite different. The 
ruling classes, in vestries, in county governments, and in the 
House of Burgesses, had determined this order of society. Was 
it not disloyalty, betrayal, disobedience, denial of one's own 
class to attempt the overthrow of this self-perpetuating elite? 
But loyalty to religious establishments, to traditional social insti- 
tutions, was overridden by Jefferson's higher allegiance — allegi- 
ance to a universal natural law and to the natural rights that 
derived from it. 

This legislative program, begun before Hancock's messenger 
was well on his way, reveals the essence of Jefferson's philosophy 
and statesmanship. Much of it he achieved almost single- 
handedly, some of it was left to others in later years to effect, 
parts of it were so revolutionary that no majorities could be 
mustered in their support. Because wealth could beget wealth 
and power increase power, Jefferson's first attack was upon the 
economic basis of aristocracy, buttressed in Virginia by the 
right of entail and primogeniture. Unless these feudal props 
of aristocracy were knocked down, equality of opportunity in the 
political and economic spheres was a mockery and true republi- 
canism a vain hope. "In the earlier times of the colony," Jef- 
ferson later wrote, "when lands were to be obtained for little or 
nothing, some provident individuals procured large grants, and, 
desirous of founding great families for themselves, settled them 
on their descendants in fee-tail. The transmission of this prop- 
erty from generation to generation in the same name raised a 
distinct set of families who, being privileged by law in the per- 
petuation of their wealth, were thus formed into a Patrician 
order, distinguished by the splendor and luxury of their estab- 
lishments. From this order, too, the king habitually selected his 
Counsellors of state, the hope of which distinction devoted the 
whole corps to the interests and will of the crown. To annul 
this privilege, and instead of an aristocracy of wealth, of more 
harm and danger, than benefit, to society, to make an opening 
for the aristocracy of virtue and talent, which nature has wisely 
provided for the direction of the interests of the society, and 
scattered with equal hand through all its conditions, was deemed 

242 The North Carolina Historical Review 

essential to a well ordered republic. To effect it, no violence was 
necessary, no deprivation of natural right, but rather an enlarge- 
ment of it by a repeal of the law." This attack on vested inter- 
ests and the most cherished of property rights, was regarded as 
subversive even by Edmund Pendleton, "the most virtuous and 
benevolent of men," but Jefferson's bill became law almost im- 

This bill and its companion abolishing the ancient right of 
primogeniture may have been alarming to the defenders of the 
established order. But had these upholders of the eighteenth 
century version of American free enterprise known what Jef- 
ferson had in contemplation, they would doubtless have regarded 
him with horror as a dangerous and subversive revolutionist. 
For he wished to abolish forever one conspicuous social institu- 
tion which made a mockery of the principles he was defending, 
the institution of slavery. Since this would have completely 
revolutionized the social and economic structure of society, Jef- 
ferson was realistic enough to know that this particular reform 
would have to bide its time. Years later he wrote, "The public 
mind would not bear the proposition, nor will it bear it even 
at this day. Yet the day is not distant when it must bear and 
adopt it, or worse will follow. Nothing is more certainly written 
in the Book of Fate that these people are to be free." Nor, 
we may add, is anything more certain than that, if the prophetic 
words of Jefferson had been accepted in the eighteenth century, 
not as a subversive and radical attack on society but as a states- 
manlike solution of a social problem, the nineteenth century 
would have been spared the appalling waste of thousands of lives, 
billions of dollars worth of property, and the immoral rationali- 
zations that were summoned to defend an indefensible institu- 
tion. But this, the eighteenth-century defenders of the statics 
quo asserted, was an attack on property, a visionary and destruc- 
tive preachment against a divinely ordered system of society, 
and such subversiveness could not be tolerated. 

Having successfully assailed the economic injustice resulting 
from entails and primogeniture, Jefferson turned to a form of 
authoritarianism that he regarded, first and last, as one of the 
most baneful influences over the minds and consciences of men. 

Thomas Jefferson and the Police State 243 

Virginia in the eighteenth century, dominated by a liberal, pleas- 
ure-loving, open-hearted code of conduct, was very far indeed 
from being a theocracy. There was an established church, to 
be sure, but no sect dominated affairs or social mores and no 
persecution for conscience's sake was apparent. Yet the vestiges 
of ancient intolerances and outworn bigotries remained on the 
statute books. Heresy, a capital offense, was punishable at 
common law by burning and its definition left to ecclesiastical 
judges. "By our Act of 1705," wrote Jefferson in Notes on the 
State of Virginia, "if a person brought up in the Christian reli- 
gion denies the being of God, or the Trinity, or asserts that there 
are more Gods than one, or denies the Christian religion to be 
true, or the Scriptures to be of divine authority, he is punishable 
on the first offense by incapacity to hold any office or employment, 
ecclesiastical, civil or military; on the second, by disability to 
sue, to take any gift or legacy, to be guardian, executor or admin- 
istrator, and by three years' imprisonment, without bail. A 
father's right to the custody of his own children being founded 
in law on his right of guardianship, this being taken away, they 
may of course be severed from him, and put by the authority 
of a court, into more orthodox hands." This, concluded Jeffer- 
son in one of the great books of the eighteenth century, "is a 
summary view of that religious slavery under which a people 
have been willing to remain, who have lavished their lives and 
fortunes for the establishment of their civil freedom. The error 
seems not sufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind, 
as well as the acts of the body, are subject to the coercion of 
the laws." 

Though dissenting sects had multiplied in Virginia, and flooded 
the legislature with their protests, the legislators were chiefly 
members of the established church. Nevertheless, Jefferson and 
his colleagues were able to effect a few reforms. Laws were 
repealed which made criminal the maintenance of heretical 
opinions, the non-attendance of church, or the exercise of any 
mode of worship that the worshipper chose. Dissenters were 
not only tolerated by law but exempted from taxes in support of 
the established church. But this, since it did not go to the heart 
of the matter, was far from satisfactory to Jefferson. The 

244 The North Carolina Historical Review 

fundamental principle, which became law years after he had left 
the legislature, was stated in the preamble to the Statue of Vir- 
ginia for Religious Freedom, an act which Jefferson ranked with 
the authorship of the Declaration of Independence and with the 
founding of the University of Virginia as being among his great- 
est contributions to his country. That principle is basic to an 
understanding of the Jeffersonian philosophy: it informed and 
sustained his thinking, his personal conduct, and his public acts 
throughout life. "The opinions and beliefs of men," he wrote, 
"depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evi- 
dence proposed to their own minds; . . . Almighty God hath 
created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free 
it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint." 
This much of Jefferson's great reform was merely negative, 
the clearing away of traditional obstacles in the path leading to 
the new era. More was needed. How could free men exercise 
their natural gift of free minds fully and properly unless minds 
were trained, developed, and enlightened? Clearly the people 
must be provided, equally and without distinction, with the ad- 
vantages of education. "If a nation expects to be ignorant and 
free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and 
never will be," Jefferson declared in 1816. "No other sure foun- 
dation," he wrote on another occasion to Chancellor Wythe, "can 
be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness . . . 
Preach a crusade against ignorance; establish and improve the 
law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen 
know that the people alone can protect us against the evils [of 
misgovernment] ." Jefferson included such a crusade in his 
legislative reforms, proposing a state system of education so 
just, so comprehensive, so informed with common sense that it 
was never fully enacted into law in Virginia or in any other 
state. Those who profess to believe that Jefferson's philosophy 
aimed at the establishment of a dull uniformity in society, at a 
levelling process that would reduce all to the lowest common 
denominator, would do well to read his Bill for the More General 
Diffusion of Knowledge. It provided three broad levels of in- 
struction. All children in the state would be taught reading, 
writing, and arithmetic. On the basis of merit, independent of 

Thomas Jefferson and the Police State 245 

economic status, the "best geniuses" were to be "raked from the 
rubbish" annually, to be sent to grammar schools for six years 
and to receive instruction in Greek, Latin, geography, and arith- 
metic. Half of these, "chosen for the superiority of their parts 
and dispositions," were to be provided with college education. 
Beyond this the "sciences ... in their highest degree" were to be 
taught to those original and inventive geniuses whose talents set 
them apart from the common run of mankind. All this was to 
be at public expense, aimed at the enlightenment and develop- 
ment of the youth as the state's most valuable resource, giving 
the indigent but talented students the same opportunities that 
the sons of the wealthy enjoyed. To support this program, 
Jefferson proposed to levy a tax proportionate to the wealth of 
the citizens. "This," he said, "would throw on wealth the edu- 
cation of the poor; and the justices [of the county courts], being 
generally of the more wealthy class, were unwilling to incur that 
burthen." Thus, Jefferson's famous system of education, grad- 
uated according to a frank recognition of differences that must 
and would exist in the new republican aristocracy of virtue and 
talent, was defeated by the aristocracy of wealth and privilege. 

This Gargantuan effort to reform and reconstitute the entire 
basis and structure of society included much besides these four 
bills. It included in fact a complete revision of the entire legal 
code. But these four were the ones that Jefferson returned to 
with nostalgic pride in his old age. They embodied the essence 
of his philosophy and statesmanship. They involved bitter 
struggles, but they achieved a victory for intellectual liberty 
and human enlightenment that had and still has repercussions 
throughout the nation. "I considered four of these bills," Jef- 
ferson later remarked, ". . .as forming a system by which every 
fibre would be eradicated of ancient and future aristocracy ; and 
a foundation laid for a government truly republican. The repeal 
of the laws of entail would prevent the accumulation and per- 
petuation of wealth in select families . . . the abolition of pri- 
mogeniture, and equal partition of inheritances, removed the 
feudal and unnatural distinctions which made one member of 
every family rich, and all the rest poor . . . the restoration of the 
rights of conscience relieve the people from taxation for the 

246 The North Carolina Historical Review 

support of a religion not theirs ; for the establishment was truly 
of the religion of the rich, the dissenting sects being entirely 
composed of the less wealthy people ; and these, by a bill for a 
general education, would be qualified to understand their rights, 
to maintain them, and to exercise with intelligence their parts in 
any government; and all this would be effected without the vio- 
lation of a single natural right of any one individual citizen." 

The inspired story of this young radical's attack upon the 
established order is an integral and well known part of our his- 
tory. But I have taken the time to present the main outline 
of this social revolution because there are certain fundamental 
beliefs and assumptions in it that cannot be too often reaffirmed. 
The natural-law hypothesis that Jefferson and his compatriots 
accepted as a self-evident truth has crumbled beneath the scien- 
tific assault of the nineteenth century to such an extent that it is 
no longer historically or philosophically tenable. Yet the rights 
and liberties that this assumption supported, the belief in the 
inalienable rights and the common humanity of man, cannot be 
sacrificed with impunity, whatever may have happened to the 
hypothesis. Emphasis on these rights has changed with chang- 
ing conditions, but the important thing to notice about Jefferson's 
program is that he attacked, realistically and with high courage, 
the most conspicuous parts of the social order that were at con- 
flict with these presuppositions about individual liberty — the 
power of wealth, of an ecclesiastical hierarchy, of ignorance, 
and of socially immoral institutions. Jefferson did not contend 
that Virginia was badly governed, that the system did not work, 
that the end justified the means. Virginia's leaders, long trained 
to assume public responsibility along with private privilege, had 
given the commonwealth a system of government that was all 
but exemplary in its efficiency and virtue. But Jefferson's face 
was to the future: he was skeptical of power and privilege; he 
distrusted the permanence even of a good government under 
responsible and virtuous leaders when that government was 
based upon a foundation of "essential irrationality and injus- 
tice." He had confidence in the probity, virtue, and intelligence 
of the privileged and aristocratic rulers of Virginia. Why should 
he not have had ? He was one of them. 

Thomas Jefferson and the Police State 247 

But he had something else that does not often accompany the 
possessor of privilege : a belief that "there is a right independent 
of force," that no man could justly and rightly rule another with- 
out his consent, that the people were worthy of confidence. "I am 
among those," he wrote in a letter that has too long remained 
unpublished, "who think well of the human character generally. 
I consider man as formed for society, and endowed by nature 
with those dispositions which fit him for society. I believe also, 
with Condorcet . . . that his mind is perfectible to a degree of 
which we cannot as yet form any conception ... I join you there- 
fore in branding as cowardly the idea that the human mind is 
incapable of further advances. This is precisely the doctrine 
that the present despots of the earth are inculcating, and their 
friends here re-echoing; and applying especially to religion and 
politics: that it is not probable that anything better will be 
discovered than what was known to our fathers. We are to 
look backwards then and not forwards for the improvement of 
science, and to find it amidst feudal barbarisms and the fires of 
Spital-fields. But thank heaven, the American mind is already 
too much open, to listen to these impostures; and while the art 
of printing is left to us, science can never be retrograde ; what 
is once acquired of real knowledge can never be lost. To pre- 
serve the freedom of the human mind then, and freedom of the 
press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom ; 
for as long as we may think as we will and speak as we think, 
the condition of man will proceed in improvement. ,, 

The relevant question that we must ask ourselves today, since 
many apparently repudiate the conviction without asking the 
question, is whether or not it is any longer safe to proceed on the 
assumption that man is capable of self-government, that he 
should be allowed to think as he will and speak as he thinks, 
whether the government of an elite should not be established for 
him to plan his programs and to direct his life and even his 
thoughts. Three world powers, denying that a right exists 
independent of force, have crumbled because they rested on the 
false foundation of a force independent of right. Another great 
world power, or any world power so founded, should profit from 
that example. But what can we say, not of other governments 

248 The North Carolina Historical Review 

or societies, but of our own, whose principles stand in eternal 
hostility to the idea of tyranny or force or the police state? In 
approaching this urgently relevant question, let us inquire 
whether any part of Jefferson's philosophy is irrelevant to 
twentieth-century society. 

Urbanization, industrialization, and the growth of financial 
monopolies were specters that affronted Jefferson's beliefs quite 
as much as the threat of monarchy or privileged aristocracy. 
Hence his belief that our national safety lay in the virtue and 
independence of freeholders, in our continuance as an agrarian 
state of small farms, in a political structure loose in organization, 
sovereign as to local concerns, narrowly and rigidly confined 
in its national orbit. The power of government was to be curbed ; 
the sovereignty of the individual in his personal liberties and 
civil rights to be protected everywhere against encroachments. 
This, since man was a rational creature, would impel each indi- 
vidual to seek his own best interests and the aggregate of en- 
lightened interest on the part of all individuals in the state would 
result in national safety and prosperity. So long as an indi- 
vidual stood sovereign on his own freehold, cultivating it and 
resting on an equal footing with others in like condition, this 
was not only a rational and just but also a realistic political 

It was this emphasis upon a purely agrarian republic, upon 
states' rights, upon a denial of large powers to the federal gov- 
ernment, I suppose, that led Mr. Ellis Arnall to call Thomas 
Jefferson a typical Southerner. If so, if this philosophy of gov- 
ernment is typically Southern, it is precisely that part of the 
Jeffersonian system that no longer has meaning or relevance. 
The South, as I understand the South, is a land of intense loyal- 
ties. It is loyal to its institutions, to its past, to its people, 
almost to the point of uncritical acceptance. Jefferson, as I 
understand Jefferson, was dominated by a loyalty to the doctrine 
of the Higher Law of nature and nature's God and whatever 
conflicted with that, whether of a social, political or economic 
nature, evoked his undying enmity. Infringement of natural 
right was tyranny, whether he called it aristocracy, monarchy, 
or privilege, and from whatever source it came. In this respect 

Thomas Jefferson and the Police State 249 

he was an uncompromising revolutionist and the South as a 
whole has never been conspicuously disloyal to the existing order. 
The most notable occasion on which it protested was not so much 
a withdrawal from the federal Union as an attempt at seces- 
sion from the whole dynamic of the nineteenth century, the 
dynamic of the technological and industrial revolutions that 
made Jefferson's agrarian philosophy unrealistic, untenable, and 
all but irrelevant in modern society. 

Yet, in the face of Jefferson's determined effort to overthrow 
and reform the whole structure of society in eighteenth-century 
Virginia, in the face of his unrelenting attack on unjust forms 
and uses of property and on irrational institutions, we have been 
asked in recent years to believe that his support of a weak na- 
tional government, his violent denunciation of federal regula- 
tions, his advocacy of a laissez-faire philosophy have relevance 
today. More, the authority of Jefferson's forward-looking mind 
is invoked to buttress aggregates of power and authority over 
the economic welfare of millions of individuals on the bland as- 
sumption that he, if living in twentieth-century America, would 
be visionary enough to assume that modern society could seek 
its own salvation if only the federal government were stripped 
of some of its power over the industrial and financial sovereign- 
ties that have in so many ways supplanted the simple political 
sovereignties of earlier days. The "right to do as we please with 
our own property," declared a stalwart American, "is the very 
basis" of our struggle for liberty. This utterance, though it 
has been echoed in the publications issuing from strongholds of 
economic power and in the pronouncements of the political oppo- 
sition of the past decade, was not an utterance of the twentieth 
century, but the expression of Landon Carter, tidewater aristo- 
crat of Virginia, protesting against the subversive, radical pro- 
posal of young Thomas Jefferson to abolish systems of real prop- 
erty tenure that derived from the Middle Ages. 

Though no one has been able to find among the thousands of 
letters that Thomas Jefferson wrote the expression "That govern- 
ment is best which governs least," it is nevertheless true, I think, 
that, fearing power as he did, he believed that in his own day the 
Union should be governed with a minimum of law and control. Yet 

250 The North Carolina Historical Review 

he was a realist. He did not support his own program on the au- 
thority of the past. And I suspect that, in the twentieth century, 
he would be perceptive enough to see that the whole structure of 
society has been changed, that new forms of privilege and power 
have come into being, that sometimes even the most virtuous and 
enlightened men cannot prevent these forms of power from being 
used for ends hostile to individual liberties, and that a laissez- 
faire system of free enterprise appropriate to an agricultural 
community of the eighteenth century would be visionary and 
impractical in an industrial society of the twentieth century. 

If that much in Jefferson's philosophy is irrelevant, what part 
of his philosophy has meaning today ? If he were faced with the 
issues that confront us, I suspect that his attack would be directed 
first of all against those forces which seem to deny his funda- 
mental belief that "God hath created the mind free, and mani- 
fested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it 
altogether insusceptible of restraint." The incredibly powerful 
machines for the dissemination of mass information, propaganda, 
and what is euphemistically called entertainment would no doubt 
appall him by their almost unrestrained capacity for evil as well 
as by their irresponsible neglect of opportunities. Though he 
would doubtless note that here and there, in small islands of 
enlightenment, learning and truth are independently and respon- 
sibly discussed, I believe he would regard with repugnance the 
employment of these machines of mass communication for the 
purpose of achieving, not the highest expression of the individual 
mind, but the lowest common denominator of a dull and colorless 
uniformity. For this uniformity, this denial of the differences 
among men, this herding of masses into maneuverable groups 
and categories, though it originated in private enterprise, would 
soon reflect itself in the whole government and structure of 
society. It has indeed already done so. In the past decade, 
under the plea of secrecy and security, government is seeking to 
impose its own species of conformity, of uniformity, of loyalty 
to a society whose whole philosophical basis is the assumption 
of difference among men and the toleration of diversity. With- 
out pausing to inquire why a government of the people needs to 
erect barriers of secrecy against the people, we may note only 

Thomas Jefferson and the Police State 251 

some of the more conspicuous examples of actions characteristic 
of what we call the police state and what Jefferson undoubtedly 
would have called tyranny. Though they were committed in the 
name of democracy, we may pass over the destruction of books, 
the suppression of ideas, the attempt to enforce beliefs among 
our late enemies, noting only that these acts, though they dis- 
regard the proposition that the mind is "altogether insusceptible 
of restraint," were applied to conquered peoples. We may pass 
over the seizure of seventy thousand American citizens, the herd- 
ing of them under military power in concentration camps, and 
the deprivation of their property, for this occurred in time of war 
and military exigency, "when in war the laws are silent," has its 
own kind of justification. But what of the authority given the 
highest legal officer of our government to decide what associa- 
tions American citizens may legally belong to without fear of 
reprisal? What of procedures in government which deprive 
citizens of their means of livelihood on evidence accumulated 
by a secret police, often in disregard of private right or law, 
without confronting the accused with his accuser, without re- 
specting the ancient principle that he is to be considered innocent 
until a jury of his peers has convicted him? What of the edicts 
compelling loyalty and unquestioned obedience? What of the 
dismaying spectacle of a legislative committee, allegedly engaged 
in an investigation that will lead to information, inquiring with 
flagrant disregard of constitutional liberties into subversive 
activities, justifying its acts by a denial of the right of revolution 
on which this country was founded? If this spectacle were not 
so dismaying, we could appreciate the unconscious humor in- 
volved in a search for subversive, revolutionary aims supposedly 
developing in a mammoth agency engaged in providing what is 
called entertainment, an agency controlled by financiers, a group 
who have never in all history led the people to the barricades. 
This great merchant of mediocrity, apostle of conformity, slavish 
follower of trends, has demonstrated by its anxiety to show its 
loyalty to government that it is either unaware of, or lacks the 
courage to support, Jefferson's belief in a higher loyalty to man : 
"The error seems not sufficiently eradicated that the operations 
of the mind, as well as the acts of the body, are subject to the 

252 The North Carolina Historical Review 

coercion of the laws/' Meanwhile, rights are trampled under 
foot, individuals are sacrificed to public clamor, and the news- 
paper press, on which Jefferson placed such high hopes, has on 
the whole shamefully acquiesced. The universities and other 
centers of responsibility, though they have a particularly solemn 
obligation to protest against violations of the right of intellectual 
and spiritual freedom, have been equally silent, for they too are 
feeling the subtle, insistent pressures that inexorably demand 

On these questions I do not think we need to speculate about 
the relevancy of Jefferson's philosophy. He too was confronted 
with an attempt to suppress opinion, to compel conformity, and 
to require unquestioning obedience. The Alien and Sedition 
Acts of 1798 were at conflict with Jefferson's faith in the ability 
of the people to distinguish truth and error, and it was in respect 
to these acts that, in his first inaugural address, he expressed 
sentiments which, if uttered today, would qualify him as one of 
the first victims of the Star Chamber proceedings that now con- 
front this nation. "During the throes and convulsions of the 
ancient world," he declared, "during the agonizing spasms of 
infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long- 
lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows 
should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this 
should be more felt and feared by some and less by others, and 
should divide opinions as to the measures of safety. But every 
difference of opinion is not a difference of principle . . . If there 
be any among us who wish to dissolve this Union or to change 
its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments 
of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where 
reason is left free to combat it." 

Such a belief required not only faith but courage. Indepen- 
dence of judgment and true tolerance required not conformity, 
not implicit loyalty, but a moral and intellectual courage of a 
true order of nobility. When Jefferson uttered these words, the 
country had just emerged from a political revolution. We were 
defenseless and at the mercy of European powers that affronted 
us with impunity. We numbered some four million souls and 
our negligible manufactures and commerce were pursued at the 

Thomas Jefferson and the Police State 253 

sufferance of foreign nations. Many feared that the great Amer- 
ican experiment in republican government would fail, that belief 
in man's capacity for self-government could not be sustained. 
Amid these circumstances Jefferson was resolute. Dissent and 
the threat of revolution could be tolerated. Not merely tolerated : 
they would serve as proof of our courage and strength. "I know 
indeed," Jefferson assured his countrymen in 1801, "that some 
honest men have feared that a republican government cannot be 
strong: that this government is not strong enough. But would 
the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, 
abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm, 
on the theoretic and visionary fear that this government, the 
world's best hope, may by possibility, want energy to preserve 
itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest 
government on earth." 

The full tide of successful experiment has flowed on for a cen- 
tury and a half since these noble and fearless words of faith were 
uttered, shaming the cowardly and giving strength to the weak. 
Today, with less than a sixteenth of the world's population, with 
more than a half of its wealth, with economic, political, and mili- 
tary power unmatched in all history, we, a nation founded in 
rebellion, nurtured in dissent, have become not merely the world's 
best hope but the world's only hope. Can we, so circumstanced, 
continue to stand shamefully silent before those tyrannical out- 
rages against individual rights which, profaning the name of 
democracy and prostituting the principles on which it rests, were 
so courageously repudiated by Thomas Jefferson in the infancy 
of a great experiment? This, not the defiance of government, 
would be the ultimate treason. 

By Mary Lindsay Thornton 

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Kirtley Weed and Richmond Pugh Bond. Chapel Hill, University of 
North Carolina Press, 1946 [i. e., 1947] (Studies in philology, extra 
series, Dec. 1946, no. 2) vi, 233 p. $3.50, $2.50 pa. 

Religion and Philosophy 

Alley, Felix Eugene. What think ye of Christ? A history. Salis- 
bury, N. C, Rowan Printing Company for the Author, [1946] 491 p. 
illus. $3.50. 

Poteat, Edwin McNeill. Last reprieve? New York, Harper and 
Brothers, [1946] 105 p. $1.25. 

[Simpson, John Wells] History of the First Presbyterian church of 
Greensboro, North Carolina, 1824-1945. [Greensboro, N. C, Pied- 
mont Press, 1947] 369, [13] p. illus. Apply, the Church. 

1 Books dealing with North Carolina or by North Carolinians published during- the year 
ending August 31, 1947. 

[ 254 ] 

North Carolina Bibliography 255 

Turner, John Clyde. Our Baptist heritage. Nashville, Term., The 
Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, [1945] 
133 p. $.60 pa. 

Weeks, Mrs. Lena (Pittman). "In the beginning." [Raleigh, N. C, 
Edwards and Broughton Company] 1947. 57 p. port. $2.50. 

Whitener, Daniel Jay. Prohibition in North Carolina, 1715-1945. 
Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1945 [i. e. 1946] 
(The James Sprunt studies in history and political science, v. 27) ix, 
268 p. illus. $3.50. 

Economics and Sociology 

Asheville, N. C, Ordinances, Etc. The code of the city of Asheville 
. . . compiled and revised by Philip C. Cocke, jr. [Asheville, N. C. 
s Miller Printing Company, 1945] xv, 487 p. 

Blackwell, Gordon Williams Church-community relationships in the 
South. Chapel Hill, N. C, Institute for Research in Social Science, 
c. 1946. 75 p. Apply pa. 

Brad way, John Saeger. Clinical preparation for law practice, a 
manual for students. Durham, N. C, Duke University Press, 1946. 
218 p. $3.00 pa. 

Brooks, Lee Marshall. Urban communities of the South, by Lee M. 
Brooks . . . with the assistance of Sara E. Smith . . and Evelyn C. 
Brooks . . . Chapel Hill, N. C, Institute for Research in Social 
Science, 1946. 112 p. Apply The Institute pa. 

Burlington, N. C. Ordinances, Etc. The code of the city of Burling- 
ton, North Carolina, 1946 . . . Charlottesville, Va., Michie City Pub- 
lications Company, 1946. 238 p. Apply City Clerk, Burlington. 

Durham, N. C, Ordinances, Etc. The code of the city of Durham, 
North Carolina, 1947 . . . Charlottesville, Va., Michie City Publica- 
tions Company, 1947. viii, 552 p. Apply City Clerk, Durham. 

Greer, Guy. Your city tomorrow. New York, The Macmillan Company, 
1947. xiii, 210 p. $2.50. 

Grumman, Russell Marvin. University extension in action . . . Chapel 
Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1946. vii, 175 p. Issued 
also as The University of North Carolina extension bulletin, vol. 
xxvi, no. 1. July, 1946. $3.00. o. p. 

Hawfield, Samuel Glenn. History of the Stonewall Jackson manual 
training and industrial school, Concord, North Carolina. Concord, 
N. C, Boys of the Printing Department of the Training School, 
1946. [3], 125 p. illus. Apply. 

256 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Hobbs, Samuel Huntington, Jr. Rural communities of the South . . . 
with the assistance of Solomon Sutker. Chapel Hill, N. C, The In- 
stitute for Research in Social Science, 1946. Ill p. Apply The In- 

Knight, Edgar Wallace, ed. The Graduate School research and publi- 
cations, ed. with a foreword by Edgar W. Knight and Agatha Boyd 
Adams. Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1946. (The 
University of North Carolina sesquicentennial publications) viii, 
461 p. $4.00. 

Odum, Howard Washington. The way of the South; toward the re- 
gional balance of America. New York, The Macmillan Company, 
1947. vi, 350 p. $2.50. 

Perry, H. Arnold. Studying the state of North Carolina ; suggestions 
for teaching the social studies . . . Raleigh, N. C, State Superinten- 
dent of Public Instruction, 1946. (Publication no. 259) 12, [12] p. 
illus. Apply pa. 

Pierson, Mary Bynum. Graduate work in the South. Chapel Hill, 
University of North Carolina Press, 1947. xii, 265 p. $4.00. 

Shepherd, Harold. Cases on contracts. Chicago, Foundation Press, 
1946. $7.50. 

Stansbury, Dale Fisher. The North Carolina law of evidence. Char- 
lottesville, Va., The Michie Company, 1946. xix, 778 p. $15. 

Wager, Paul Woodford. North Carolina, the state and its government. 
New York, The Oxford Book Company, 1947. iv, 124 p. $.57. 

Wilmington, N. C. Ordinances, Etc. The code of the city of Wil- 
mington, North Carolina, 1946 . . . Charlottesville, Va., Michie City 
Publications Company, 1946. vi, 238 p. $3.00. Apply City Clerk, Wil- 

Winston, Sanford. Leadership in war and peace. Raleigh, The Agri- 
cultural Experiment Station of the North Carolina State College of 
Agriculture and Engineering, 1946. (Special publication, Sept. 
1946, no. 1) 141, [11] p. Apply. 


Coker, Robert Ervin. This great and wide sea. 2 Chapel Hill, Univer- 
sity of North Carolina Press, [1947] xvii, 325 p. illus. $5.00. 

* Mayflower award, 1947. 

North Carolina Bibliography 257 

Hickerson, Thomas Felix. Latitude, longitude and azimuth by the sun 
or stars. Chapel Hill, N. C, The Author, c. 1947. 101 p. Formerly 
published under the title of "Navigational handbook with tables." 

Rhine, Joseph Banks. The reach of the mind. New York, W. Sloane 
Associates, [1947] 234 p. illus. $3.50. 

Satterfield, George Howard. The estimation of vitamins. Lancaster, 
Pa., Jacques Cattell Press, 1947. (Biological symposia, v. 12) $2.50. 

Applied Science and Useful Arts 

Burlage, Henry Matthew, ed. Laboratory manual for principles and 
processes of pharmacy [by] Henry M. Burlage . . . Joseph B. Burt 
. . . [and] L. Wait Rising. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1946. xix, 271 p. 
illus. $3.00. 

Korstian, Clarence Ferdinand. Forestry on private lands in the 
United States. Durham, N. C. [The Seeman Printery] 1944. (Duke 
University. School of forestry. Bulletin 8) xiii, 234 p. Apply School 
of Forestry pa. 

Paschal, George Washington. A history of printing in North Caro- 
lina . . . Raleigh, N. C, Edwards and Broughton Company, 1946. 
xxii, 313 p. illus. $5.00. 

Slaughter, Frank Gill. The new science of surgery. New York, 
Julian Messner, 1946. ix, 286 p. $3.50. 

Venable, Charles Scott. The internal fixation of fractures by Charles 
Venable and Walter Stuck. Springfield, 111., C. C. Thomas, 1947. 252 
p. illus. $5.50. 

Fine Arts 

Booker, Nell Battle, illustrator. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. 
Illustrated by Nell Booker. Cleveland, The World Publishing Com- 
pany, [1946] 504 p. illus., col. plates. $1.00. 

Booker, Nell Battle, illustrator. The scarlet letter, by Nathaniel 
Hawthorne, with illustrations by Nell Booker. Cleveland, The World 
Publishing Company, [1946] 254 p. $1.00. 

Booker, Nell Battle, illustrator. Wuthering Heights; illustrated by 
Nell Booker. Cleveland, World Publishing Company, [1947] 352 p. 
illus., col. plates. $1.00. 

Robertson, Primrose McPherson. The story of Little Red Riding 
Hood, retold from Perrault, illustrated by Primrose. Chicago, Will- 
cox and Follett, 1946. [27] p. $1.00. Juvenile. 

258 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Selden, Samuel. First steps in acting. New York, F. S. Crofts & Com- 
pany, Inc., 1947. xvi, 344 p. $3.25. 

Spence, Hersey Everett. Holidays, and holy days; plays, pageants 
and programs for many occasions. Greensboro, N. C, The Piedmont 
Press, 1946. 203 p. $2.00. 

Bevington, Helen Smith. Dr. Johnson's waterfall, and other poems. 
Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1946. viii, 164 p. $2.00. 

Crisp, Lucy Cherry. Brief testament; verse. North Montpelier, Vt., 
Driftwind Press, 1947. 114 p. $2.00. 

Roberts, Ruth Newman. The heart speaks, poems. New York, Crown 
Publications, [c. 1947] 64 p. $2.00. 

Athas, Daphne. The weather of the heart. New York, D. Appleton- 
Century Company, Inc., [1947] 276 p. $2.75. 

Bell, Thelma Harrington (Mrs. Corydon Bell). Mountain boy, 
with drawings by Corydon Bell. New York, The Viking Press, 1947. 
39 p. $2.00. Juvenile. 

Burgwyn, Mebane (Holoman). River treasure. New York, Oxford 
University Press, 1947. 159 p. illus. $2.50. 

Burt, Katherine (Newlin). Close pursuit. New York, C. Scribner's 
Sons, 1947. 320 p. $2.75. 

Cochran, Hamilton. Rogue's holiday. Indianapolis, The Bobbs-Mer- 
rill Company, [1947] 297 p. $2.75. 

Credle, Ellis. Johnny and his mule, photographs by Charles Townsend. 
New York, Oxford University Press, 1946. [44] p. illus. $1.80. 

Fletcher, Inglis. Toil of the brave. Indianapolis, The Bobbs-Merrill 
Company, [1946] 547 p. $3.00. 

Green, Paul. Salvation on a string, and other tales of the South. New 
York, Harper & Brothers, [1946] viii, 278 p. illus. $2.50. 

Hazlett, Edward Everett. "He's Jake!" The story of a submarine 
dog. New York, Dodd, Mead, 1947. 154 p. illus. $2.75. Juvenile. 

Hedden, Worth Tuttle. The other room. New York, Crown Publishers, 
[1947] 274 p. $2.75. 

8 By a North Carolinian or with the scene laid in North Carolina. 

North Carolina Bibliography 259 

Lenski, Lois. Blue Ridge Billy, written and illustrated by Lois Lenski. 
New York, J. B. Lippincott Company, [1946] xvi, 203 p. illus. $2.50. 

McSpadden, Joseph Walker. Storm center, a novel about Andy John- 
son. New York, Dodd, Mead & Company, 1947. 393 p. $3.00. 

Meadowcropt, Enid Lamonte. On Indian trails with Daniel Boone. 
New York, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1947. 136 p. $2.00. Juvenile. 

Rogers, Lettie. South of heaven. New York, Random House, [1946] 
278 p. $2.50. 

Shepard, Odell. Holdfast Gaines. New York, The Macmillan Company, 
1946. viii, 647 p. $3.00. 

Sims, Marian (McCamy). Storm before daybreak. Philadelphia, J. B. 
Lippincott Company, [1946] 295 p. $2.50. 

Slaughter, Frank Gill. In a dark garden. Garden City, N. Y., Double- 
day & Company, Inc., 1946. 435 p. $2.75. 

Literature Other Than Poetry, Drama, or Fiction 

Bailey, James Osler. Pilgrims through space and time; trends and 
patterns in scientific and Utopian fiction. New York, Argus Books, 
[1947] 41 p. illus. $5.00. 

Paine, Gregory Lansing, ed. Southern prose writers; representative 
selections, with introduction, bibliography, and notes. New York, 
American Book Company, [1947] cxlv, 392 p. $1.60. 

Rice, Carlton Cosmo. Romance etymologies and other studies, ar- 
ranged by Urban T. Holmes, jr. Chapel Hill, University of North 
Carolina, 1946. (Studies in the Romance languages and literatures, 
1946, no. 7) viii, 142 p. $1.50 pa. 

Selden, Samuel. An introduction to playwriting. New York, F. S. 
Crofts and Company, Inc., 1946. vi, 120 p. $2.00. 


Ray, Worth S. The lost tribes of North Carolina. Austin, Texas, Pub- 
lished by the Author, 1947. 714 p. illus. $20.00. 

Has been re-printed in four sections with the following titles : Ray's 
index and digest to Hathaway's North Carolina historical and gene- 
alogical register; Colonial Granville and its people ; The Mecklenburg 
signers and their neighbors; Old Albemarle and its descendants. 
$7.50 each. 

260 The North Carolina Historical Review 

History and Travel 

Allen, Mary Moore. North Carolina sketch. [Goldsboro, N. C, The 
Author] 1946. 39 p. illus. $.50 pa. 

Brewster, Lawrence Fay. Summer migrations and resorts of South 
Carolina low-country planters. Durham, N. C, Duke University 
Press, 1947. (Historical papers of the Trinity College Historical 
society. Series xxvi) vii, 134 p. $1.00 pa. 

Cooper, Morley. Cruising to Florida via the intracoastal waterway. 
New York, Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 
[1946] vii, 201 p. illus. $3.00. 

Coulter, Ellis Merton. Georgia, a short history. Rev. and enl. ed. of 
A short history of Georgia. Chapel Hill, University of North Caro- 
lina Press, 1947. xii, 510 p. illus. $4.50. 

Daniels, Jonathan. Frontier on the Potomac. New York, The Mac- 
millan Company, 1946. 262 p. $2.75. 

Davidson, Donald. The Tennessee. New York, Rinehart & Company, 
Inc., [1946] v. 1, The old river, frontier to secession. $3.00. 

East Tennessee Historical Society, Knoxville. Knox County His- 
tory Committee. The French Broad-Holston country; a history of 
Knox county, Tennessee . . . Mary U. Rothrock, editor. Knoxville, 
Tenn., East Tennessee Historical Society, 1946. xiii, 573 p. illus. 


Hobbs, Samuel Huntington, Jr., North Carolina today, by S. H. 
Hobbs, jr. and Marjorie N. Bond. Aids to learning by Mary Sue 
Beam Fonville. Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 
[c. 1947] xiii, 420, p. illus. $2.30. 

Howe, C. K. Solving the riddle of the Lost Colony. [Beaufort, N. C, 
The Author, c. 1947] 45 p. illus. Apply. 

Kincaid, Robert Lee. The Wilderness road. Indianapolis, The Bobbs- 
Merrill Company, [1947] 392 p. illus. $3.75. 

Lloyd, Allen Alexander. History of the town of Hillsboro. [Hillsboro, 
N. C, The Author] 1945. 19 p. illus. $.50 pa. 

Lorant, Stefan, ed. The new world; the first pictures of America, 
made by John White and Jacques le Moyne and engraved by Theo- 
dore de Bry, with contemporary narratives . . . New York, Duell, 
Sloan & Pearce, 1946. 292 p. illus. $20.00. 

McNeill, Kin. Strange stories of Carolina. Canton, N. C, South Lit- 
erary Service, c. 1947. 42 p. illus. $.50 pa. 

North Carolina Bibliography 261 

Patton, Sadie Smathers. The story of Henderson county. Asheville, 
N. C, Printed by the Miller Printing Company, [1947] xx, 290 p. 
illus. $5.00. 

Rights, Douglas Letell. The American Indian in North Carolina. 
Durham, N. C, Duke University Press, 1947. xx, 296 p. illus. $5.00. 

Starkey, Marion Lena. The Cherokee Nation. New York, A. A. Knopf, 

1946. xiv, 355, vi p. illus. $3.50. 

Stringfield, Margaret. The Cherokee in romance, tragedy, and song. 
Waynesville, N. C, The Author, 1946. 40 p. $1.00. 

Swanton, John Reed. The Indians of the southeastern United States. 
Washington, U. S. Govt. Printing Office, 1946. (U. S. Bureau of 
American ethnology. Bulletin 137) xiii, 943 p. illus. $2.75 pa. 

U. S. Navy. State summary of war casualties, North Carolina. [Wash- 
ington, Casualty Section, Office of Public Information, Navy De- 
partment] 1946. 50 p. Apply. 

U. S. Navy. U. S. S. North Carolina. The showboat, BB55, USS North 
Carolina. No place, [1947] [141] p. illus. 

Williams, Emma Inman. Historic Madison, the story of Jackson and 
Madison county, Tennessee, from the prehistoric moundbuilders to 
1917 . . . Jackson, Tenn., Madison County Historical Society, 1946. 
xiv, 553 p. illus. $3.00. 

Autobiography and Biography 

Atkins, Emmet Day, compiler. Extracts from the diary of Benjamin 
Elberfield Atkins . . . 1848-1909, together with a record of the de- 
scendants of his grandfather, Benjamin Atkins . . . compiled by his 
sons, Emmet D. and James W. Atkins. Gastonia, Privately Printed, 

1947. 97 p. ports. Apply. 

Coblentz, Catherine (Cate). Sequoya. New York, Longmans, Green 
and Co., 1946. viii, 199 p. illus. $2.50. 

Daniels, Josephus. Shirt-sleeve diplomat. Chapel Hill, University of 
North Carolina Press, 1947. xix, 547 p. illus. $5.00. 

Green, Charles Sylvester, editor. General Julian S. Carr, great- 
hearted citizen; addresses and addenda of centennial observance of 
his birth, Durham, North Carolina, October 12, 1945. Durham, N. C, 
[Durham Chamber of Commerce] 1946. 114 p. illus. Apply. 

Hays, Louise (Frederick). Hero of Hornet's nest; a biography of 
Elijah Clark, 1733 to 1799. New York, Stratford House, Inc., 1946. 
ix, 395 p. illus. $3.50. 

262 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Leighton, Clare Veronica Hope. Tempestuous petticoat; the story 
of an invincible Edwardian. New York, Rinehart & Company, Inc., 
1947. 272 p. $3.50. 

Link, Arthur Stanley. Wilson, the road to the White House. Prince- 
ton, N. J., Princeton University Press, 1947. xiii, 570 p. $5.00. 

Norwood, Hayden. The marble man's wife, Thomas Wolfe's mother. 
New York, C. Scribner's Sons, 1947. 200 p. $2.75. 

Wilson, Upton Gwynn. My thirty-three years of life in bed. Burling- 
ton, N. C, Privately Printed by C. B. Wilson, 1946. x, 213 p. illus. 

New Editions and Reprints 
Bartram, William. The travels of William Bartram, edited by Mark 

Van Doren. New York, Dover, [1947] 414 p. $3.75. 

Bullock, Benjamin Franklin. Practical farming for the South. 
Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1946. xvii, 526 p. 
illus. $2.75. 

Davison, Wilbert Cornell. The compleat pediatrician ; practical diag- 
nostic, therapeutic, and preventive pediatrics. 5th edition. Durham, 
N. C, Duke University Press, 1946. 

Fletcher, Inglis. En nasjon blir til ; en roman f ra den nordamerikan- 
ske frihetskamp. [Oslo] Nasjonalforlaget, [1946] 599 p. Norwegian 
edition of her Raleigh's Eden. 

Garrison, Karl Claudius. The psychology of adolescence. New York, 
Prentice-Hall, 1946. 375 p. $4.65, text ed. $3.50. 

Hallo well, John Hamilton. The decline of liberalism as an ideology, 
with particular reference to German politico-legal thought. Berkeley, 
Cal., University of California, 1943. Reprinted London, Kegan Paul, 

1946. xi, 145 p. $1.50 pa. 

Kenan, William Rand. History of Randleigh farm. 5th ed. Lockport, 
N. Y. c. 1947. xv, 227 p. illus. Apply Author, Lockport, N. Y. 

[Moore, William] A veterinary history of North Carolina. 2nd edi- 
tion. No place, [North Carolina State Veterinary Medical Associa- 
tion] 1946, 108 p. Apply. 

Robertson, Archibald Thomas. Slow train to yesterday. New York, 
Somerset Books, 1947. 198 p. illus. $1.29. 

Smith, Betty. A tree grows in Brooklyn. New York, Bantam Books, 

1947. $.25. 

North Carolina Bibliography 263 

Street, James. The Gauntlet. New York, Sun Dial Press, 1947. 311 p. 

Street, James. Tap roots. New York, The Dial Press, 1946. 593 p. 

Wilder, Robert. Written on the wind. New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 
[1946] 338 p. $1.49. 

Wilson, George Pickett. A guide to better English. New York, F. S. 
Crofts & Company, 1946. xii, 527 p. $2.00. 

Wolfe, Thomas. Short stories. New York, Penguin Books, Inc., [1947] 
150 p. .25. 


Prohibition in North Carolina, 1715-1945. By Daniel Jay Whitener. (Chapel 
Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. 1945. Pp. ix, 268. $3.50.) 

Although bearing the title of a movement that is of middle- 
nineteenth century origin, this work treats the whole problem of 
alcoholic liquor regulation in North Carolina since colonial days. 
The importance of this problem is attested by the fact that no 
other issue has received such prolonged and heated agitation in 
the state. In fact, the author suggests, if the number of petitions 
presented to the legislature be taken as an index to the popular 
interest in the subject, then no other issue has received one-tenth 
as much agitation. 

The movement falls into four broad divisions, each receiving 
appropriate attention in the work at hand. First was "the regu- 
lative period," beginning in 1715 and continuing along with 
other movements, which began about a hundred years later, until 
1908. Its distinguishing characteristics were found in laws to 
punish public drunkenness and to establish a license system. The 
second, or "individual temperance period," started during the 
first quarter of the nineteenth century and was paralleled to a 
certain extent by both the first and third periods. Its emphasis 
was upon total or partial abstinence, and was expressed by tem- 
perance societies in which the members pledged themselves to 
personal temperance. Third and more significant was "the pro- 
hibition period," beginning about a hundred years ago, during 
which efforts were made to prohibit the sale of liquor by law. 
This was eventually accomplished by abolishing the saloon in 
1908 and by the more general Turlington act of 1923, as well as 
by the Federal prohibition amendment of 1919. After 1935 
came reaction in legal forms of liquor control and the consequent 
fourth, or "A. B. C. Store period." 

One of the salient factors brought out by Professor Whitener's 
study is that before the Civil War the non-governing classes 
directed the movement, but that after this date prohibition be- 
came closely identified with politics. From 1900 to 1930, for 
example, the prohibitionists controlled the liquor policy of the 
Democratic party. Support for prohibition is shown to have 

[ 264 ] 

Book Reviews 265 

come from many groups, among which the clergy was most mili- 
tant. Indeed, it appears that the various churches first learned 
the value of cooperation in their common effort for prohibition. 

During the past century the prohibitionists do not appear to 
have altered any of their fundamental arguments. These are 
that liquor is a habit-forming drug, the use of which leads to 
intemperance; that intemperance leads to social as well as per- 
sonal abuses; and therefore that government, an agent for the 
betterment of the individual and society, should seek to destroy 
the liquor traffic. This last point is fundamental to an under- 
standing of the prohibition movement and the factors which 
gave it birth. Prohibitory laws arose out of a quickened con- 
sciousness and social awareness of liquor abuses, chiefly public 
drunkenness and the by-products of drunkenness, public and pri- 
vate. Since most of these abuses (Professor Whitener estimates 
seventy-five to ninety per cent) were committed by the lower 
one-third of the population, the problem of prohibition has been 
not only moral and legal, but economic, psychological, and social 
as well. 

Professor Whitener disagrees with those who interpret the 
present-day legal sale of liquor in North Carolina, after a quarter 
century of prohibition, as evidence that a cycle has been run in 
the matter of dealing with the liquor problem and that no worth- 
while progress has been made. He also questions the oft-repeated 
explanation of the contest over prohibition as a struggle by the 
rural people of the state to impose their ideals on the people 
living in towns. Such an assumption is based upon the belief 
that country people drink less intoxicants than city people. Pro- 
fessor Whitener denies this, and attributes the more active prohi- 
bition sentiment among the rural people to the fact that the 
abuses were more dangerous in the country than in urban centers 
where police protection could be afforded promptly and ef- 

This is the first comprehensive and scholarly treatment of 
prohibition in North Carolina, and as such it sheds much light 
upon this important problem. 

James W. Patton. 

North Carolina State College, 
Raleigh, N. C. 

266 The North Carolina Historical Review 

The Chronicles of the Sesquicentennial. Edited with a foreword by Louis R. 
Wilson. (The University of North Carolina Press, 1947. Pp. 349. Illus- 
trations, appendices. $4.00.) 

This is the story of the sesquicentennial celebration of the 
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Beginning with a 
brief foreword by Dr. Louis R. Wilson, editor of the work and 
director of the sesquicentennial, the volume contains an account 
of the programs starting at Fayetteville on November 21, 1939, 
and ending with the final convocation in Memorial Hall, April 
13, 1946. 

The ceremonial commemorating the chartering of the Uni- 
versity was a pageant, "To Make Men Free," by Beverly and 
Peery of the Department of Dramatic Art. The celebration of 
the laying of the cornerstone of Old East Hall was held in the 
area between the Davie Poplar and the Old Well, and was marked 
by a pageant and addresses by President Harold W. Dodds of 
Princeton and President Frank P. Graham. The third major 
event in the series was a meeting in the Capitol in Raleigh before 
a joint session of the General Assembly. Governor Cherry and 
various state officials participated and the principal address on 
"The State University" was delivered by President Clarence A. 
Dykstra of the University of Wisconsin. In memory of the first 
student to enroll in the University, Hinton James Day was set 
apart for alumni and student activities. 

Subsequent chapters deal with the conference on research and 
regional welfare, the University and public education, the Uni- 
versity day celebration on October 12, 1945, and the final sesqui- 
centennial convocation which was postponed until April, 1946, 
because of wartime transportation regulations governing attend- 
ance at meetings. Other events during the period include the 
centennial of the Carolina Magazine, the centennial of the alumni 
association, the centennial of the law school, the fiftieth anniver- 
sary of the Tar Heel, the student newspaper, and the twenty- 
fifth anniversary of the Carolina Playmakers. The concluding 
chapter contains a list of the numerous sesquicentennial publi- 

These chronicles present the University of North Carolina 
as the child of the American Revolution, and amply demonstrate 
its value in the contemporary life of the state and nation. The 

Book Reviews 267 

addresses, delivered during war years, are forceful statements 
concerning issues in higher education and problems of post-war 

The volume includes the names and citations of those who 
received honorary degrees. A list of the delegates to the final 
convocation is included in the appendix. Nineteen illustrations 
of University notables and campus scenes add much to the at- 
tractiveness of the work. The index is adequate and the format 
of the book is typical of the high quality of University of North 
Carolina Press publications. The need for a good one volume 
history of the University remains unfulfilled, but Dr. Wilson is 
to be congratulated on preserving the record of the sesquicen- 
tennial in such an admirable manner. 

David A. Lockmiller. 

University of Chattanooga, 
Chattanooga, Tenn. 

The First Captain: The Story of John Paul Jones. By Gerald W. Johnson. 
(New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1947. Pp. viii, 312. $3.50.) 

The reader who likes history and biography of the so-called 
popular type will probably not wish to put down Mr. Johnson's 
account of John Paul Jones until the book is finished. On the 
other hand, the reader who prefers the more scholarly kind of 
studies will not be pleased with the author's efforts in this, his 
seventeenth book. In executing his plan to write entertainingly, 
Johnson fails to add any appreciable information about Jones 
or sources of information on his subject. His book contains 
neither a table of contents, a bibliography, an index, nor illustra- 
tions. Nevertheless, some of his interpretations concerning the 
captain's meteoric career, the events with which he was con- 
nected, and some of the personages with whom he was associated 
are worthy of close consideration by serious students of history. 
The account is neither all good nor all bad regardless of the 
reader's taste in biography. 

Johnson, a creative writer, critic, newspaper editorial writer 
and free lancer, presents his story of Jones in a racy, journalistic, 
uninhibited, easy-flowing, psycho-analytical style. To Johnson, 
an advocate of the somewhat discredited great-man theory of 
history, his subject is a first-rate hero and man of destiny, ordi- 

268 The North Carolina Historical Review 

narily infallible but often persecuted by conniving incompetents 
and unappreciated by less discerning contemporaries. There is 
little doubt throughout most of Johnson's pages -that he is strain- 
ing to defend Jones against all comers. In those portions of the 
captain's life on which little information is available, particularly 
the periods in which he might have backslid, the author does not 
hesitate to interpolate and create possible situations to make his 
hero come through unsullied. In his exuberance, the writer turns 
out a biography that at times becomes highly fictionalized. Even 
so, these flights of the imagination in behalf of Jones, sometimes 
quite penetrating and interesting, might be considered by some 
readers as the best parts of the book. 

Jones is presented as the first American strategist and pro- 
genitor of psychological warfare. In this respect, the hero is 
again pictured as being thwarted by ever-recurring and inexcus- 
able blunders of intriguing colleagues; and, according to the 
author, Jones was consistently maligned and ill-handled, albeit 
unsuspecting and even naive in his relations with these un- 
speakable, infamous characters. As a result, the full force of 
the captain's genius was never allowed to express itself during 
his career in the service of America, France, or Russia. Since 
the author makes only intermittent efforts to detach himself from 
his subject, some readers may put down the book with the im- 
pression that all concerned are suffering from a severe case of 

Another of the author's oft-repeated theses is Jones' support 
of the ideal of a professional, non-political navy. Special empha- 
sis is placed on Jones' conceptions concerning requirements of a 
good naval officer. The captain's advocacy of his new beliefs 
on this matter is presented convincingly as being a greater and 
more lasting contribution than any battle he ever fought. Also 
of special significance is the author's discussion of Jones, the 
"Indomitable Man," whose courage was and is undoubted and 
whose reputation as a fighter has enhanced advantageously the 
quality of the personnel and accomplishments of the United 
States Navy. 

Weymouth T. Jordan. 

Alabama Polytechnic Institute, 
Auburn, Ala. 

Book Reviews 269 


North Carolina: The State and Its Government. By Paul W. Wager (New 
York, N. Y.: Oxford Book Company, 1947, Pp. iv, 124.) 

The increasing concentration of power in the national govern- 
ment has been accompanied by a parallel growth in the scope 
and significance of state government. Unfortunately the aver- 
age American knows little about state government and fails to 
see its importance. There is a widespread interest in national 
affairs, but the political machinery of the state simply fails to 
fascinate our impatient generation. 

This situation will be greatly improved, so far as the people 
of North Carolina are concerned, if Dr. Wager's little book is 
as widely read as it deserves to be. It is primarily a book of 
facts describing in a clear, well organized manner the structure 
and operation of the state, county, and city government. It is 
more than a mere handbook. The author does not hesitate to 
call attention to some of the strong and weak points in the laws 
and the constitution. Here and there he suggests reforms. For 
the most part his points are not particularly controversial, but 
some readers will disagree with his implications regarding pub- 
lic utilities. 

This book should be useful in the schools from the eighth grade 
through college — whenever state government is studied. "Older 
citizens/' even those who have not spent many years in school, 
will be able to comprehend it without difficulty. Its meaning 
will be clear to any person who can read understandingly the 
front page of a daily newspaper. 

Gilbert L. Lycan. 

John B. Stetson University, 
Deland, Florida. 

The Hunter's Horn. By Peirson Ricks. (New York, New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1947. Pp. 361, $3.00.) 

Winston-Salem's Peirson Ricks has written a very enjoyable, 
light novel — not a great work, not even a genuinely historical 
work — but a novel which I found to be well worth reading for 
sheer enjoyment. 

This tale of a rural community in the eastern Carolina low- 
lands during the 1890's moves rapidly with its shift in scenes at 
the beginning of almost each new chapter. The characters are 

270 The North Carolina Historical Review 

dynamic, true-to-life, and certainly representative of the social 
elements of the South of the time: the semi-aristocratic group, 
the poor white, and the enterprising business interests which 
were invading and exploiting much of the South in this post-Civil 
War era. 

The Hunter's Horn contains distinct elements of fate, of trag- 
edy, of humor, of intrigue (by an old Vodoo Negress), of psycho- 
logical conflict, and of the social cast system of the time. 

Although the novel is not closely associated with any historical 
event or distinguished characters of North Carolina history, it 
will, none the less, appeal to North Carolinians because of its 
depiction of a general period — perhaps a tragic period — in the 
history of North Carolina and of the South. 

Mr. Ricks has made an excellent beginning in the full-length 
novel field. I look forward to more enjoyment from his future 

Robert M. Langdon. 

U. S. Naval Academy, 
Annapolis, Md. 

River Treasure. By Mebane Holoman Burgwyn. (New York: Oxford Uni- 
versity Press. 1947. Pp. 7, 159. $2.50.) 

Written in a natural and easy style for boys and girls, this 
story of the Negroes in the Roanoke River section of North 
Carolina also provides interest and entertainment for more ma- 
ture readers. 

Life among the Negroes, as seen through the experiences of 
twelve-year-old Guy Harrison, is a blend of the old and new. 
Aunt Delly and Uncle Ruf us, Guy's adopted family, express their 
disbelief in the familiar old stories of "hants" and witches ; they 
are thrifty and progressive, working to buy their own farm with 
its fifty acres, house, barn, and orchard. Old Uncle Jake brings 
his letter for Guy to read to him and stirs up interest in the 
bygone days of the plantation and Civil War and inspires Guy's 
search for the buried treasure of the lost Pollock silver. 

The Roanoke provides pleasant fishing but is treacherous and 
an ever present worry in the rainy season with its threat of 
flood. In the end it both destroys and saves ; flooding, it washes 

Book Reviews 271 

away the carefully tended crops but in shifting its course empties 
the water hole in which the lost silver is buried. 

Mrs. Burgwyn, member of a family long associated with the 
history of that part of the state, in telling her story has absorbed 
memories of the past and observed and revealed the life of the 
present in the Occoneechee Neck section of the Roanoke River 

Beth Crabtree. 

Raleigh, N. C. 

The University of Chattanooga: Sixty Years. By Gilbert E. Govan and James 
W. Livingood. (Chattanooga: University of Chattanooga, 1947. Pp. xiv, 
271. Illustrations, appendix.) 

This book was written to help commemorate the sixtieth anni- 
versary of the University of Chattanooga and may be considered 
as an official history of the subject. It contains four parts, the 
first three covering the university's founding, opening (Septem- 
ber, 1886), the so-called modern period (1904-1946), the various 
administrations, fund-raising campaigns, and building programs. 
Part IV describes social and some extracurricular activities of 
professors and students since 1904. 

Founders of the university were Chattanooga civic leaders, the 
Freedmen's Aid Society, and seven "Central South" conferences 
of the northern branch of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Early 
supporters of the school also included southerners and newly 
arrived northerners who hoped to establish an institution that 
might help heal differences left over from the Civil War. 

Special features of the university's history have been its rela- 
tionship with Grant Memorial University (known since 1925 as 
Tennessee Wesleyan College) at Athens and with the Methodist 
Church. The Athens institution, financed since 1867 by the 
Methodists, sought to set itself up as the denomination's sole 
school for the "South Central" area. Instead, after 1886 it found 
itself one of the branches of a two-campus university directed 
by one chancellor, although it remained the most important 
branch for a short period. Under the leadership of John A. Race, 
chancellor from 1897 to 1913, however, the Chattanooga branch 
almost completely overshadowed the Athens college. Chatta- 

272 The North Carolina Historical Review 

nooga's present title was assumed on June 8, 1907 ; in May, 1909, 
its holdings were turned over to the board of trustees by the 
church. The Athens branch obtained a friendly separation in 
1925. Complete independence of denominational control was 
granted to the university in 1935. In discussing these compli- 
cated and jealousy-ridden questions, the authors have for the 
most part approached their study without excessive bias or 

Endowment of the university has been increased by three 
financial campaigns, for important gifts have been obtained 
locally from members of the John A. Patten family and outside 
from Andrew Carnegie, Daniel Kimball Pearsons, the General 
Education Board, and the Methodist Church. Although the uni- 
versity has specialized since 1904 in training for the B.A. degree, 
students have been attracted at times by such degrees as S.T.B. 
(bachelor of sacred theology) and B.O. (bachelor of oratory), 
by a liberal scholarship program, and more lately by the G. I. 
Bill of Rights. 

The book contains a foreword by the university president. 
Illustrations are attractively arranged. Footnotes are meager 
and inconsistent; there is an index and an appendix, the latter 
including a short bibliography. The format is good. The book 
is crowded with references to persons whose names will arouse 
local interest and memories. Several expressions of local pride 
are noticeable. There are few critical appraisals either of aca- 
demic and educational practices or of most of the officials who 
have been connected with the school. Discussion of the devel- 
opment of Chattanooga as a commercial center is inadequate. 
Despite these faults, the study presents in an attractive style 
information that will be of interest to educators, social historians, 
and friends of the university. 

Weymouth T. Jordan. 

Alabama Polytechnic Institute, 
Auburn, Ala. 

The Negro in Mississippi, 1865-1890. By Vernon Lane Wharton, (Chapel Hill. 
The University of North Carolina Press. 1947. Pp. 298. $3.00.) 

The Mississippians, not unlike the other southerners, had to 
solve the problem of living together with the freed Negro at the 

Book Reviews 273 

close of the Civil War. In the beginning the federal government 
attempted a solution to the racial problem by giving the f reedmen 
social, economic, and political rights. But some of the whites 
were displeased with their former slaves having these privileges, 
so they, after restoration of home rule, resorted to other means 
of racial adjustment, this time by disfranchisement, segregation, 
and discrimination. After more than a half century of operation 
of this solution, Dr. Vernon Lane Wharton in his book, The 
Negro in Mississippi 1865-1890, tells us, "No serious student . . . 
can believe that the method worked out in this period . . . offers 
the final answer to the question of relation of the races." Fur- 
thermore, the author says, "there is abundant evidence that it is 
even now breaking down, and that the rate of the breakdown 
is increasing." With these conclusions Dr. Wharton re-studies 
the activities of the Negro in Mississippi between the years 
1865-1890 so that "more knowledge" of the Negro's behavior 
can be presented that will be serviceable to the experts in the 
field of race relations. 

The topics discussed by the author are Negro adjustment in the 
labor market, education, religion, social life, race relations, and 
politics. The section given the most attention by him is that 
dealing with the Negro in the political life of the state. This is 
by far the most enlightening part of the book, because his revi- 
sion overthrows the old theories of W. A. Dunning and others 
who believed that "corruption and misrule" were manifested 
in the "Africanized" state of Mississippi. The author has col- 
lected data from manuscripts, official records, documents, and 
special studies and has shown, among other things, that "there 
is no evidence of open fraud among Negro-Republican Control." 
To illustrate this, he has compared the tax rate in the thirty-nine 
Democratic counties with that in the thirty-four Republican 
counties and has found that it was 12 7/13 mills in the former 

areas and 13 7/17 mills in the latter "a difference," he says, 

"of less than a mill." 

The leaders of the constitutional convention in 1868, Negro 
and white, gave to the state a model constitution. This was at- 
tested when S. S. Calhoon, the leader of the disfranchisement 
movement in 1890, had to admit, "It is a stranger fact that the 

274 The North Carolina Historical Review 

good in it, we owe to the negroes under the conservative influence 
of their former owners and eminent citizens. . . ." 

Then, too, the three national Negro Republican leaders who 
represented the state in Congress followed the general pattern 
of the politicians in the state, county, and local governments, 
that is, they did not show any animosity toward the whites nor 
did they act in the role of Negro-lovers. In the main the bills, 
resolutions, and petitions they presented were similar to the ones 
presented by other National leaders in both Senate and House. 
Had the author cited some of the bills that these Negroes intro- 
duced in Congress, greater emphasis would have been given their 
behavior while representing the people of Mississippi in Wash- 

In writing about the conduct of the Negro in the other aspects 
of adjustments, listed above, the author fails to apprise the 
reader of anything new that will be of value to guide the present 
leaders of race relations. Perhaps this lack could have been over- 
come had he made use of more primary source material instead of 
depending upon secondary studies for his information. 

In spite of the weaknesses of the book in several sections, it 

is an excellent re-evaluation of the part the Negro played in the 

rebuilding of Mississippi, 1865-1890. Dr. Wharton has opened 

the way for other historians to do some revision of this period in 

other southern states. If they would do it, the students of race 

relations could take this new information and set up a program 

so that the two races might be able to live in peace in the South. 

Then the final chapter of the Civil War would be closed. 

Tinsley L. Spraggins. 
St. Augustine's College, 
Raleigh, N. C. 

The Civil War Diary of General Josiah Gorgas. . . . Edited by Frank E. Van- 
diver. (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. 1947. Pp. xiii, 208. $3.00.) 

Josiah Gorgas, a native of Pennsylvania, graduated from West 
Point and held a commission in the United States Army until late 
March, 1861. Five days after resigning as a United States officer 
he became a major and the Chief of Ordnance of the swiftly 
forming Confederate Army. In November, 1864, he was pro- 

Book Reviews 275 

moted to brigadier-general, having been recommended by Jeffer- 
son Davis for "supreme efficiency." His diary for the years 
1857-1877 has for some years been at the Library of Congress, 
available to scholars. 

For publishing those portions of the diary which cover the war 
years, 1861 through 1865, Mr. Vandiver deserves credit. He has 
secured permission to publish most of this section, although 
"some deletions have been made at the request of the Gorgas 
family." Thus a sizable portion of the diary, that covering the 
most active and notable years, is now made generally available, 
and in a form substantially complete. Editing has been done 
with care, the arrangement is neat, and the binding is attractive. 

To evaluate this diary as an historical document is, the editor 
himself frankly admits, difficult. "Obvious" reasons of secrecy 
prevented the inclusion of any especially illuminating comment 
on the ordnance department of the Confederacy. Neither is any 
new light thrown on the campaigns of the war, for diary entries 
are all too frequently based upon rumors which Gorgas himself 
doubted. Once he wrote, "The Yankees are probably the great- 
est liars, but we are not much behind hand." Comments upon 
individual officers of both the Union and the Confederate armies 
and a reflection of the manner of civilian life in the South as the 
war went on are perhaps the most valuable features of the diary. 

The arbitrary division headings are obviously intended for 
dramatic effect and are not always appropriate to the material 
included. For example, under the heading, "Richmond Hears 
The Cannons," one finds comments on such battles as Manassas, 
Springfield, Fort Sumter, Roanoke Island, Shiloh, Fort Donelson, 
and Baton Rouge, before he finds comments concerning move- 
ments around Richmond. As a matter of fact, less than half of 
the material here included fits the section heading. 

The relegation of footnotes to the end of each chapter, too 
often insisted upon by publishers, is irritating to one who wishes 
to read the editor's comments as he goes along. This is the 
more to be regretted since, in this particular case, the notes are 
interesting and represent careful research. 

W. F. Burton. 

State Department of Archives and History, 
Raleigh, N. C. 

276 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Preliminary Checklist for Abingdon, 1807-1876; Number I of the Virginia Im- 
print Series. Edited by John Cook Wyllie. (Richmond: The Virginia State 
Library. 1946. Pp. 45. $1.00.) 

This, the first in the projected Virginia imprints series, is only 
a preliminary checklist. Printing began in Abingdon, Virginia, 
in 1806. In attempting to collect as many Abingdon products 
as possible, it has been estimated that perhaps not more than 
one-fifth of them have been preserved. The ones that have been 
preserved are widely scattered. 

This slender mimeographed volume is in size and format 
reminiscent of the activities of the Historical Records Survey, 
from which, as a matter of fact, it stems. It is admittedly an 
incomplete product incorporating a plea for additional informa- 
tion, although some interesting items are included. It is hoped 
that the readers of this checklist will search for any Abingdon 
products prior to 1876, excluding newspapers and blank forms. 
Any information concerning the existence of such items should 
be forwarded to John Cook Wyllie, Curator of Rare Books, The 
University of Virginia. 

W. F. Burton. 

State Department of Archives and History, 
Raleigh, N. C. 

Land Title Origins: A Tale of Force and Fraud. By Alfred N. Chandler. 
(New York: Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. 1945. Pp. xviii, 550. $3.00.) 

A veteran traveler, economist, and land-reformer, the author 
of the book under review can personally recall how the first rail- 
roads of the western plains followed a meandering course so that 
their promoters could ' 'collect a greater acreage in land grants, 
and an increased amount of railroad company bonds . . . for each 
mile of road constructed," and how "some men wept and some 
attempted suicide at the realization of their financial ruin" dur- 
ing the panic of 1873 (pp. 506, 508). When Henry George pub- 
lished his classic Progress and Poverty in 1879, Mr. Chandler 
had just reached twenty-one. Clearly he is a George disciple, 
for running through Land Title Origins like a refrain is the 
argument that the earth is the heritage of mankind, that all men 
have a natural right to land, that population increase and com- 

Book Reviews 277 

munity enterprise raise land value, that custom foolishly allows 
privileged individuals to hold unused land for speculative pur- 
poses, and that a sufficiently high tax on land value would return 
unused land to the market and would eliminate the many other 
taxes on production and consumption. 

From this single-tax point of view, then, the author describes 
the beginning and development of land tenure policies in the 
United States. His sources are almost entirely secondary, and 
from them he has culled every possible reference to land, land 
grants, and land titles. Approximately four-fifths of the work 
deals with the thirteen colonies. Mr. Chandler reaches the all-too- 
obvious conclusion that present-day titles rest ultimately upon 
conquest, dispossession, and speculation — "force and fraud." 

As a piece of historical scholarship the book exhibits several 
shortcomings. Its author appears to place as much reliance 
upon Bancroft, Fiske, and state histories written a century ago 
as he does upon modern studies of the land question like those of 
Thomas P. Abernethy, Benjamin H. Hibbard, and Payson J. 
Treat. The many pages devoted to familiar general history, the 
overwhelming amount of superfluous detail, and some repetition 
make the book much too long. The author's habitual use of the 
passive voice, and occasionally his awkward sentence structure 
and phraseology, mar the literary style. Bibliography and index 
are useful, but there are no footnotes. 

Nevertheless, errors of fact seem to be few. One may mention 
that the European population of Maine could hardly have totaled 
1,200 in 1620 (p. 85) if the first permanent settlement of the 
region did not occur until 1625 or 1626 (p. 89) ; the Morrill 
Land-Grant Act became law in 1862, not 1864 (p. 502) ; the gov- 
ernment under the Constitution was inaugurated in 1789, not 
1797 (p. 548). More careful checking and proof-reading doubt- 
less would have made consistent the variable spelling of a few 
proper names and would have corrected a number of misspelled 
words. In parts of the chapter on "The Carolinas" a more 
precise designation of "North Carolina" and "South Carolina" 
would have proved helpful — as in the reference to the establish- 
ment of Beaufort (p. 369). 

278 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Readers with a legal turn of mind, and lovers of minute and 
curious Americana, will find much of interest in this work that 
required a ten-year period of research and three years of writing. 
Even serious students may discover valuable clues. In the great 
body of literature on the land question, however, Land Title 
Origins must assume a rank of minor importance. 

Stuart Noblin, 

North Carolina State College, 
Raleigh, N. C. 

The South, Old and New: A History 1820-1947. By Francis Butler Simkins 
(New York: Alfred A. Knoff, 1947. Pp. xvi, 527. $6.00.) 

Teachers who have been bewailing the lack of a textbook for 
courses on the New South may now cease their lamentations, for 
The South, Old and New is admirably suited for such a purpose 
since more than two-thirds of it is devoted to the period following 
the Civil War. The chapters on the Old South are designed 
primarily to give the reader a necessary background for the 
study of the later period. The starting point is set in 1820 be- 
cause it was in the Missouri controversy of that year that the 
development of southern sectionalism began. Racial pride, or 
racial prejudice, was the principal amalgam of southern unity 
and accordingly becomes with Professor Simkins, as with the 
late Professor Phillips, the central theme of southern history. 
In his picture of the southern social system the author rejects 
both the calumnies of the northern abolitionists and the distor- 
tions of southern ancestor-worshipers. With sound scholarship 
he points out the evils of slavery and also its benefits, especially 
in lifting the Negro from an African savage into an American 
workman. He gives considerable attention to the yeoman farmer, 
the neglect of whom by historians has constituted the greatest 
misfeasance in southern history. He shows that the Old South 
was fundamentalist in religion and that it made definite progress 
in education. 

In discussing Lincoln's responsibility for the outbreak of war, 
the author has had to make his choice between the mythmakers 
and the scholars. He has chosen the latter, and has shown 
courage of the highest order in his criticisms of the war Presi- 

Book Reviews 279 

dent. And just as his courage in criticising Lincoln will proba- 
bly arouse the ire of our northern brethren, so his courage in 
pointing out good features of Radical reconstruction and carpet- 
baggery will probably not be too well received in the South. The 
reviewer does not concede that from Radical reconstruction there 
resulted "reforms in organization of courts, in codes of judicial 
procedure, in systems of county government and school adminis- 
tration, in the manner of electing public officials, and in methods 
of taxation." But no one can fail to recognize the honesty of 
the author or his scholarship in presenting his conclusions. 

The Bourbons who succeeded the carpetbaggers had as their 
main task the insuring of white supremacy. Their success in 
doing this led the southern people to overlook their promotion 
of manufactures to the neglect of agricultural interests, their 
sponsoring of crop-lien legislation, their laissez-faire attitude 
toward railroad evils, and their nepotism in office, until about 
1890, when the Agrarians led by the planter class drove them 
out. The Agrarians, however, were as intent on white suprem- 
acy as were the Bourbons and proceeded to bring about Negro 
disfranchisement by constitutional changes. They increased aid 
to education, indorsed prohibition, and put an end to crop-liens 
and convict leasing. As to the demagogues who came into power, 
Professor Simkins says, in words certain to be widely quoted, 
that "perhaps the greatest tragedy of twentieth century politics 
was not that such men were so popular but that the admiration 
they aroused was not altogether undeserved." 

The key-note of The South, Old and New is struck in the first 
chapter, "The Everlasting South." The South of 1947 is the 
South of 1820 with ideals and culture essentially unchanged by 
time, war, reconstruction, progress, and poverty. What the 
South was, it is and shall be. No amount of pressure has made, 
or can make, it abandon its fundamental tenet of white suprem- 
acy ; the Negro has made no progress toward social equality and 
can make none. This is the point of view of a realist who sees 
things as they are rather than as he would like them to be. 

It is perhaps superfluous to say about a book by Professor 
Simkins that it is well written, abounding in humor and satire 
and deft epigram. Its scholarship is unimpeachable although 

280 The North Carolina Historical Review 

exceptions will be taken to some of its interpretations. It has 
thirty-five pages of bibliography arranged chapter by chapter 
according to the text. The reviewer believes it will be widely 
read by the general public. Because of his interest in promoting 
the study of southern history, he thinks it deserves a wide adop- 
tion as a text. 

R. S. Cotterill. 

Florida State University, 
Tallahassee, Florida. 


Dr. Elizabeth Commetti, assistant professor of history at the 
Woman's College of the University of North Carolina, has been 
awarded a grant-in-aid by the Social Science Research Council 
to complete her research for a book entitled "The Impact of the 
Revolutionary War on the Civilian Population." 

Miss Zoe Swecker, instructor in history at the Woman's College 
of the University of North Carolina, has been awarded the Cleo 
Hearon Fellowship at the University of Chicago for graduate 
study there next year. 

Mrs. Carolina A. Daniel, who has been supplying as an in- 
structor in history at the Woman's College of the University of 
North Carolina, has been granted a fellowship at the University 
of North Carolina to continue her work next year for the Ph.D. 
degree in history. 

Miss Sarah Lemmon, a member of the staff of Meredith Col- 
lege, will continue her graduate study at the University of North 
Carolina during the summer session. 

Dr. James W. Patton, head of the department of history and 
political science at North Carolina State College, has been ap- 
pointed assistant director of the Southern Historical Collection 
at the University of North Carolina, effective July 1. 

Dr. Preston W. Edsall of North Carolina State College has 
been appointed head of the department of history and political 

Dr. C. B. Robson of the University of North Carolina has 
resigned as head of the department of political science effective 
September 1. After that date he will continue as a professor 
in the department. 

Dr. Howard K. Beale of the history department at the Univer- 
sity of North Carolina has resigned effective July 1 to accept an 
appointment at the University of Wisconsin. 

[ 281 ] 

282 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Dr. M. L. Skaggs of Greensboro College will teach during the 
summer school at Wake Forest College. 

Dr. Edward 0. Guerrant, associate professor of history at 
Davidson College, will teach in the summer school at the Univer- 
sity of Southern California. 

Mr. Henry Howard Eddy, chief of the division of archives 
and manuscripts of the State Department of Archives and His- 
tory, has resigned, effective May 11, to accept a position as chief 
of public records of the state of Pennsylvania. 

Mr. W. F. Burton, Jr., researcher for the highway marker 
program of the State Department of Archives and History, has 
been promoted to the position of chief of the division of archives 
and manuscripts in that department. He will fill the place va- 
cated by Mr. Eddy. 

Mr. William S. Powell, a member of the staff of the library 
of Yale University, will join the staff of the State Department 
of Archives and History as researcher of the highway marker 
program. Mr. Powell has his master's degree in history from 
the University of North Carolina. 

Dr. Edgar W. Knight of the University of North Carolina 
will teach in the first summer school at that institution. At the 
second summer session he will give a seminar in American edu- 
cational history at Duke University. Dr. Knight, who is com- 
piling for publication a documentary history of education in the 
South, has edited and published the following as by-products of 
his study: "North Carolina's 'Dartmouth College Case/" The 
Journal of Higher Education, XIX (March 1948), 116-122; and 
"More Evidence of Horace Mann's Influence in the South," The 
Education Forum, XII (January 1948), 167-184. The Univer- 
sity of North Carolina Press has also published The Contribution 
of the University to the Public, edited by Dr. Knight. 

Dr. Alice B. Keith, associate professor of history at Meredith 
College, published an article entitled "Relaxations in the British 

Historical News 283 

Restrictions on the American Trade with the British West 
Indies, 1783-1802," in the Journal of Modern History, March, 

Dr. Richard L. Watson of Duke University published an article 
entitled "Congressional Attitudes Toward Military Preparedness, 
1829-1835," in the March, 1948, issue of the Mississippi Valley 
Historical Review. 

Printice-Hall, Inc., has recently published a book entitled The 
Far East: A History of the Impact of the West on Eastern Asia, 
by Dr. Paul H. Clyde of Duke University. 

The University of North Carolina Press recently published a 
book entitled The Papacy and European Diplomacy, 1869-1878, 
by Dr. Lillian Parker Wallace of Meredith College. 

The University of Illinois Press has recently published a vol- 
ume entitled Agricultural Literature and the Early Illinois 
Farmer, by Richard Bardolph, assistant professor of history at 
the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina. 

Roundtree Chronicles, 1827-1840: Documentary Primer of a 
Tar Heel Faith (1947, p. 64), by Charles Crossfield Ware, has 
recently been published by the North Carolina Christian Mis- 
sionary Convention, Wilson, N. C. 

History of Missionary Methodism, 1913-1948 (1948, p. 40), 
by Dan S. Hardin has recently been published by the Forest City 
Courier, Forest City, N. C. 

The State Department of Archives and History has recently 
published The Silversmiths in North Carolina, (1948, p. 93), by 
Dr. George B. Cutten, and Explorations, Descriptions, and At- 
tempted Settlements of Carolina, 1584-1590, (1948 p. 136) , edited 
by David Leroy Corbitt. These pamphlets are available free 
to those libraries and individuals who request them. 

Washington and Lee University recently conferred the degree 
of doctor of letters on Dr. Charles S. Sydnor of Duke University 
as a part of the bicentennial celebration of that institution. 

284 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Dr. L. C. MacKinney, professor of medieval history at the 
University of North Carolina, gave on April 27 the third lecture 
in the fourth series of lectures in the humanities sponsored by 
the University Division of Humanities. The subject of Dr. 
MacKinney's lecture was "The Renaissance, Myth and or 

Dr. Wendell H. Stephenson of Tulane University on April 14 
spoke to the Trinity College Historical Society. The subject 
of his address was "Some Leaves from an Editor's Notebook." 

Dr. John Hope Franklin, professor of history at Howard 
University, Washington, D. C, has recently delivered an address 
entitled "The Great Conspiracy" at Shaw University. His ad- 
dress was delivered at the beginning of the Negro Historical 
Week Observance at that Institution. 

During the first quarter of the year Dr. Christopher Crittenden, 
director of the State Department of Archives and History, made 
a number of addresses, as follows: to students of Needham 
Broughton High School, Raleigh, January 6 ; to the students of 
Hugh Morson High School, Raleigh, January 30; to the New 
Hanover County Bar Association, Wilmington, March 16; and 
to the United Daughters of the Confederacy and various groups 
of school children in Salisbury, March 18. 

Mrs. J. E. Latham of Greensboro has given an additional 
$100,000 for the restoration of Tyron's Palace at New Bern. 
Previously Mrs. Latham had given $150,000 for this project 
contingent upon the State's raising $150,000 for the same pur- 
pose. The Daughters of the American Revolution have taken 
as one of their projects the assistance of Mrs. Latham in her 
efforts to restore the palace. 

On March 2 the North Carolina Daughters of the American 
Revolution unveiled a marker at the Guilford Courthouse Na- 
tional Military Park honoring Major John Davis, a Revolutionary 
War hero. 

The commission to erect on Capitol Square a memorial to the 
three North Carolina Presidents has made progress toward the 

Historical News 285 

placing and unveiling of the monument, which will be located 
east of the Capitol, where the Vance monument now stands. 
The latter will be moved to a position at the east end of the mall 
on the south side of the square, opposite the Aycock memorial. 
The unveiling of the three Presidents' monument is expected to 
take place about the middle of October. 

The Society of Colonial Wars in the state of New York has 
announced its annual historical essay contest. The contest will 
open April 1 and will close December 31. It is open to any 
citizen of the United States who submits to the society an essay 
dealing with a subject based on documents, records, manu- 
scripts, and other material not heretofore published which shall 
relate to a phase of the American colonial period between the 
founding of Jamestown, Virginia, May 13, 1607, and the battle 
of Lexington, April 19, 1775. All essays and correspondence 
regarding the contest should be addressed to the Annual His- 
torical Essay Contest Committee, Society of Colonial Wars, 122 
East 58th Street, New York 22, New York. 

Books received include Richard Bardolph, Agricultural Liter- 
ature and the Early Illinois Farmer (Urbana, Illinois: The 
University of Illinois Press, 1948) ; Donald E. Thompson, A Bibli- 
ography of Louisiana Books and Pamphlets (University, Ala- 
bama: The University of Alabama Press, 1948); Nannie M. 
Tilley, The Bright Tobacco Industry, 1860-1927 (Chapel Hill: 
The University of North Carolina Press, 1948) ; Charles Ross, 
Colonel Dick Thompson, the Persistant Whig (Indianapolis, 
Indiana: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1948); Abbott Emerson 
Smith, Colonists in Bondage (Chapel Hill: The University of 
North Carolina Press, 1947) ; Arthur E. James, Chester County 
Clocks and Their Makers (West Chester, Pa.: Chester County 
Historical Society, 1947) ; Frank E. Vandiver, Confederate 
Blockade Running Through Bermuda, 1861-1865, Letters and 
Cargo Manifests (Austin, Texas: The University of Texas Press, 
1948) ; Everett Dick, Dixie Frontier, A Social History (New 
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948) ; Benjamin Quarles, Frederick 
Douglass (Washington, D. C: The Associated Publishers, Inc., 
1948) ; Frank Friedel, Francis Lieber, Nineteenth-Century Lib- 

286 The North Carolina Historical Review 

eral (Baton Rouge, La.: The Louisiana State University Press, 
1948) ; John Richard Alden, General Gage in America: Being 
Principally a History of His Role in the American Revolution 
(Baton Rouge, La.: The Louisiana State University Press, 
1948) ; Carl Van Doren, The Great Rehearsal, The Story of the 
Making and Ratifying of the Constitution of the United States 
(New York: The Viking Press, Inc., 1947) ; Virgil Carrington 
Jones, The Hatfields and the McCoys (Chapel Hill: The Univer- 
sity of North Carolina Press, 1948) ; Duncan W. Robinson, 
Judge Robert McAlpin Williamson, Texas' Three-Legged Willie 
(Austin, Texas: Texas State Historical Association, 1948); 
Elmer T. Hutchinson, Documents Relating to the Colonial Revo- 
lutionary and Post-Revolutionary History of the State of New 
Jersey, First Series, Vol. XL, Calendar of New Jersey Wills, 
Administrators, Etc., Vol. XI, 1806-1809 (Trenton, N. J., Mac- 
Crellish & Quigley & Co., 1948) ; Richard Walser, North Carolina 
in the Short Story (Chapel Hill: The University of North Caro- 
lina Press, 1948) ; Lillian Parker Wallace, The Papacy and 
European Diplomacy, 1869-1878 (Chapel Hill: The University 
of North Carolina Press, 1948) ; Aubrey L. Brooks and Hugh 
Talmage Lefler, The Papers of Walter Clark (Chapel Hill: The 
University of North Carolina Press, 1948) ; Ruth Woods Dayton, 
Pioneers and Their Homes on Upper Kanawna (Charleston, 
West Virginia: West Virginia Publishing Company, 1948); 
Harpur Allen Gosnell, Rebel Raider, Raphael Semmes's Cruise 
in the C. S. S. Sumter (Chapel Hill: The University of North 
Carolina Press, 1948) ; Paul Wager and Donald B. Hayman, 
Resource Management in North Carolina (Chapel Hill: Institute 
for Research in Social Sciences University of North Carolina, 
1948) ; William D. James, A Sketch of the Life of Brig. Gen. 
Francis Marion (Marietta, Georgia: Continental Book Com- 
pany, 1948) ; Frank L. Owsley, Oliver P. Chitwood, and H. N. 
Nixon, A Short Story of the American People (New York: 
D. Van Nostrand Company, 1948) ; G. MacClaren Brydom, 
Virginia's Mother Church (Richmond, Virginia: Virginia His- 
torical Society, 1947) ; and South Dakota State Historical Collec- 
tions (Pierre, South Dakota: State Historical Society, 1948). 


Dr. B. H. Nelson is an assistant professor of history, Minor's 
Teachers College, Washington, D. C. 

Miss Elizabeth Stone Hoyt is head of the department of his- 
tory and acting dean of the faculty at Montreat College, Mon- 
treal N. C. 

Mr. D. L. Corbitt is managing editor of The North Carolina 
Historical Review, and chief of the Division of Publications of 
the State Department of Archives and History, Raleigh, N. C. 

Mrs. Ernest A. Branch was acting secretary-treasurer of the 
State Literary and Historical Association, Raleigh, N. C. 

Dr. Alice Barnwell Keith is an assistant professor of history at 
Meredith College, Raleigh, N. C. 

Mr. Richard Walser is an assistant professor of English at 
North Carolina State College, Raleigh, N. C. 

Dr. Lodwick Hartley is a professor of English and head of the 
English Department at North Carolina State College, Raleigh, 
N. C. 

Dr. Hardin Craig is a professor of English at the University of 
North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N. C. 

Dr. Julian P. Boyd is librarian at Princeton University, 
Princeton, N. J. 

Miss Mary Lindsay Thornton is in charge of the North Caro- 
lina Collection at the library of the University of North Carolina, 
Chapel Hill, N. C. 

The North Carolina 
Historical Review 

Volume XXV July, 1948 Number 3 



By Wendell H. Stephenson 

Among the pioneers who sought to promote historical scholar- 
ship in the South as the nineteenth century faded into the 
twentieth was John Spencer Bassett. 1 A native of North 
Carolina, he attended Trinity College, attained the doctorate at 
the John Hopkins University, and returned to his undergraduate 
alma mater as professor of history. His interests were varied 
and his ability was exceptional. A penchant for research and 
writing yielded monographs on North Carolina history, and as 
a corollary he assembled printed and manuscript records in the 
Trinity library. He inspired in his students a Jeffersonian pas- 
sion "to follow truth wherever it may lead," even though it 
undermined southern tradition. Southern liberal in a generation 
dominated by conservative thinking, his provocative preachments 
stirred reactionaries to protestations. A dozen years at Trinity 
College brought local and then national recognition and an 
invitation to a northern professorship. Thereafter his interest 
in southern history waned. 

Bassett's father and paternal grandfather were democratic 
Virginians, devout Methodists, successful carpenters and con- 
tractors, slaveholders on a small scale, and critics of slavery but 
not antislavery agitators. His grandparent, Richard Bassett, 
resident of Williamsburg, apprenticed his son Richard Baxter to 
a Richmond firm of contractors. After mastering the trade the 
younger Richard became a builder, first in Williamsburg, then 
in Norfolk, and finally at various places in North Carolina. In 
1861 he joined the Edgecombe Guards, a company of the First 
North Carolina Regiment, but after the battle of Big Bethel 

1 Much of the material for this study was assembled in 1944-1945 while the writer held a 
research grant from the General Education Board. 

[ 289 ] 

290 The North Carolina Historical Review 

he was assigned by the Secretary of War to the Commissary 
Department and manufactured army supplies until the close of 
the war. A turn at planting in the Reconstruction era provided 
temporary occupation, but after a few years he returned to his 
original vocation. Meanwhile, in 1863, a second marriage united 
a southern family with New England stock. Mary Jane Wilson 
was the daughter of a Maine millwright who had moved to 
North Carolina a generation earlier. The Bassett's second child, 
John Spencer, was born at Tarboro on September 10, 1867. 

Early education at Richlands, Goldsboro, and the Jefferson 
Davis Military Academy at LaGrange prepared Bassett for 
Trinity College, then located in Randolph County. When he 
enrolled as a junior in 1886, Trinity was an ordinary backwoods 
institution with an antiquated curriculum, inadequate financial 
resources, and a temporary administration. The election of 
John F. Crowell, graduate of Yale University, to the presidency 
the year after Bassett entered resulted in liberalization of the 
course of study and introduction of the system of election. 
Bassett graduated in 1888, and after teaching for a couple of 
years in the Durham public schools, he returned to Trinity 
College as instructor in English and principal of the preparatory 
department. 2 

2 Sketches of John S. Bassett are available in a brief typescript memoir, John Spencer 
Bassett Papers (in possession of Mrs. J. S. Bassett, Northampton, Mass.); American His- 
torical Review, XXXIII (1927-1928), 713-714; XXXIV (1928-1929), 483-484; South Atlantic 
Quarterly, XXVII (1928), 113-116; William K. Boyd, "John Spencer Bassett," Dictionary of 
American Biography, II, 38-39; Wendell H. Stephenson, "A Half Century of Southern His- 
torical Scholarship," Journal of Southern History, XI (1945), 8-12. 

Bassett entered upon his career as a student and teacher at Trinity College in an era that 
witnessed profound developments in North Carolina education. Economic discontent which 
gave rise to the Populist revolt was accompanied by widespread demand for improved educa- 
tional opportunities. Charles D. Mclver and Edwin A. Alderman made constructive contribu- 
tions in promoting popular education and a training program for teachers. At the higher edu- 
cation level, new schools were founded and old ones invigorated. The Agricultural and 
Mechanical College was established at Raleigh in 1889. Soon thereafter higher education for 
women received impetus with the founding of the North Carolina State Normal and Industrial 
College at Greensboro by the state, and Meredith College, a private school for girls, at Raleigh. 
The Slater Industrial and State Normal School for Negroes came into existence at Salem. The 
University of North Carolina, approaching its hundredth anniversary, sought to increase its 
revenues from the state, modernize its curriculum, and expand its patronage. This program 
brought it into conflict with such denominational colleges as Trinity, Wake Forest, and 
Davidson, which professed to believe that the University and other state-supported schools 
would have a "monopoly in higher education." First Wake Forest and then Trinity led the 
fight against the University in the latter half of the 1890's. In the rivalry between the Chapel. 
Hill and Durham schools Bassett was an interested participant, and this brought him into 
conflict with Josephus Daniels. Long before the Bassett affair of 1903, the two had clashed in 
their private correspondence. For the educational struggle in the 1890's, see Luther L. Gobbel, 
Church-State Relationships in Education in North Carolina since 1776 (Durham, 1938), chap. 
IV. Popular education in the state received great impetus during the administration of Gov- 
ernor Charles B. Aycock, 1901-1905. He campaigned for office "on a platform of white 
supremacy and education" and "led the movement which took the ballot from the illiterate 
negro until he could be prepared by education and training for its proper use, thus committing 
the state to a program of universal education." See Edgar W. Knight, "Charles Brantley 
Aycock," Dictionary of American Biography, I, 447-448. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 291 

He was not long content to remain inadequately prepared. 
Inspired by Crowell and recommended by Stephen B. Weeks, he 
entered the John Hopkins University. By the last decade of the 
nineteenth century, this Baltimore institution of higher learning 
had become an academic focus for graduates of southern colleges 
and universities. Its location south of the Mason and Dixon line 
prompted a feeling that it was a southern university ; a generous 
supply of scholarships for residents of Maryland, Virginia, and 
North Carolina provided financial aid ; and the liberal attitude of 
Herbert B. Adams, director of the department of history and 
political science, assured sympathetic treatment of southern 
scholars and southern subjects. 3 Bassett studied at the Hopkins 
for three years, 1891-1894, emphasizing history but delving also 
into economics and sociology. For the first two years he was a 
Hopkins Scholar; in his third he held a five-hundred-dollar 
fellowship. 4 His dissertation, a study of The Constitutional 
Beginnings of North Carolina (1668-1729), was published in the 
University Studies in Historical and Political Science. Armed 
with a degree and a zest for historical scholarship in all of its 
ramifications, he returned to Trinity College as professor of 
history, a position to which he had been elected the year before. 
He was not long in acquiring a reputation as the S'outh's foremost 
scholar in the field of history. 

Trinity College was already a Hopkins "colony" before Bassett 
was appointed to the chair of history. His predecessor Weeks 
received the doctor's degree in 1891 under Adams's tutelage, and 
then served for two years as professor of history and political 
science before a faculty quarrel with the president caused his 
resignation. A prolific writer in the field of North Carolina 
history prior to his appointment, he continued to produce 
creditable monographs during his incumbency. Weeks immedi- 
ately turned his attention to library acquisitions and sought to 
interest alumni and other friends of the college in assembling 
historical sources on the South. He founded the Trinity College 
Historical Society, which was to play a vital part in stimulating 
historical activity under the leadership of Bassett and William K. 

3 Wendell H. Stephenson, "Herbert B. Adams and Southern Historical Scholarship at the 
Johns Hopkins University," Maryland Historical Magazine, XLII (1947), 1-20. 

4 Typescript memoir, Bassett Papers. 

292 The North Carolina Historical Review 

The intimate relations between Adams and Bassett did not end 
when Bassett left the Hopkins, for they corresponded frequently 
and the former student did not miss an opportunity to stop over 
in Baltimore when he made periodic migrations to work in 
eastern libraries. The Durham "colony' ' was constantly in touch 
with the mother institution: Bassett explained his problems, 
whether academic or personal, recounted his successes, and 
reported upon the political and educational backwardness of 
North Carolina and the South; his mentor offered words of 
encouragement and counsel. 5 On sundry occasions Bassett ex- 
pressed appreciation for tangible aid. Upon learning in 1901 
that Adams had resigned because of ill health, Bassett wrote 
that "You have been to me more than an instructor. You have 
given me sparks of yourself, and you have made me hope that I 
might be a useful man in some not unimportant way." He alluded 
to those "touches of new inspiration in my work" which his 
contacts with Adams had incited. 6 

Most of Bassett's letters reveal a spirit of hopefulness for the 
advancement of the college, albeit an undercurrent of dis- 
couragement is discernible. His salary was only $1,200, and 
North Carolina was a "narrow & uninspiring" place in which to 
work. 7 Meager compensation did not permit research in the east 
every summer. Adams pointed to the overstocked condition of 
"the academic market" and encouraged Bassett to believe that 
he was doing constructive work under adverse circumstances. 
"You are very fortunate in having a field of work and influence 
all your own. You are transforming the historic consciousness of 
your people and your State. You are making constant contribu- 
tions to North Carolina literature. You are dispelling illusions 
and bringing the truth to light." 8 Another expression of dis- 
satisfaction with conditions under which he labored brought 
further praise for his work in the South. Bassett's ambition 
was justifiable, and Adams would keep an ear to the ground for 

6 John S. Bassett to Herbert B. Adams, July 31, 1895; January 16, 1896; November 15, 
December 16, 1898; April 3, 1899; December 7, 1900, W. Stull Holt (ed.), Historical Scholar- 
ship in the United States, 1876-1901; As Revealed in the Correspondence of Herbert B. Adams 
(Baltimore, 1938), pp. 238-239, 242-243, 256-259, 261-262, 269-271, 291-292; Bassett to Adams, 
January 24, April 17, 18, May 12, 1898; June 13, 21, October 23, December 15, 1899; April 1, 
May 27, June 17, November 2, 1900; February 3, 17, March 5, April 21, 1901, Herbert Baxter 
Adams Papers (Johns Hopkins University library); Adams to Bassett, May 15, November 
27, 1896; January 14, 1897; June 19, 1900; February 27, May 9, 1901, Bassett Papers. 

6 Bassett to Adams, February 17, 1901, Adams Papers. 

7 Bassett to Adams, January 16, 1896, Holt (ed.), Historical Scholarship in the United 
States, p. 243. 

8 Adams to Bassett, May 15, 1896, Bassett Papers. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 293 

a better location. 9 Learning from Bassett that "matters have 
taken a more favorable turn" at Trinity, Adams wished him 
"increased usefulness." He pointed to accomplishments that came 
from "continuous residence and activity in one institution." That 
had been Adams' experience at the Hopkins, where he had 
remained despite attractive offers elsewhere. 10 

Early in 1898 Bassett was "jogging on rather monotonously" 
because routine work prevented concentration on research. A 
"troublesome" French class that he had taught for the past three 
years clung in leechlike fashion. 11 He still complained of an 
inadequate salary and longed for a change of location. "Do you 
have a good salaried place waiting for a man?" he inquired of 
Adams in 1900. "I would like this place perfectly if salaries were 
larger." 12 

The attitude of churchmen toward the college was none too 
reassuring. A "holy element in the church howled," he wrote 
Adams in 1898, when an untrue report was circulated that Trinity 
College owned some stock in the tobacco trust. "There is an 
element in favor of withdrawing from the support of the college 
on account of this affair. I wish they would go. They are sore- 
heads in general & will always be a source of annoyance to us. . . . 
There are a lot of fools in N. C. and it takes some time to lick 
them into shape. We are doing it gradually. Trinity is about the 
only place in the state that is trying to do it. I used to be aweary 
of the place; but as long as the fool-killing is to go on I want to 
be here to see the fun." 13 Several months earlier he had written 
Adams, after reading Andrew D. White's A History of the 
Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896), "a 
book containing many hard facts — and important ones too," that 
he anticipated a time when he would "clash with the authorities 
here on the question of orthodoxy." 14 

Despite a meager salary, heavy teaching load, unsympathetic 
politicians, and bigoted clerics, Bassett found appreciation for 
his scholarly efforts. Donations for books and for a library 
building prompted faith in the future ; he engaged in considerable 

9 Adams to Bassett, November 27, 1896, Bassett Papers. 

10 Adams to Bassett, January 14, 1897, Bassett Papers. 

11 Bassett to Adams, January 24, 1898, Adams Papers. 

12 Bassett to Adams, May 27, 1900, Adams Papers. 

13 Bassett to Adams, November 15, 1898, Holt (ed.), Historical Scholarship in the United 
States, pp. 256-257. 

14 Bassett to Adams, January 24, 1898, Adams Papers. 


The North Carolina Historical Review 

research and writing ; several of his colleagues were liberals ; and 
he took genuine delight in promoting the interests of his 
students. Roughly processed products were shipped away to the 
educational homeland in Baltimore that they might partake of 
the same scholarly blessings that he had received from Adams. 
And he felt the same solicitude for their welfare that Adams had 
manifested in his own career. Charles C. Weaver was his first 
student to work for the doctorate at the Hopkins and Bassett 
followed his progress with avid interest. Writing of his esteem 
for Adams, Weaver recalled his obligations to Bassett: "Your 
good name here has proved a wonderful aid to me as your pupil. 
. . . The inspiration of your example has gone far in aiding me 
to work." 15 When a tragedy occurred in the household of Mrs. 
N. B. McDowell of Weaverville, she requested that Bassett 
"comfort" her nephew William Kenneth Boyd. "He has spoken 
of you to me and I know he has a strong attachment for you, and 
I hope he has won your confidence and affection." 16 Boyd was 
Bassett's outstanding student, and he sought in vain to steer 
him to the Hopkins. "He is a delightful student," Bassett wrote 
Adams. "He is a prize, I think." Boyd's paper on William W. 
Holden impressed Bassett as "the best thing ever done in N. C. 
Reconstruction times," and its excellence led William A. Dunning 
to encourage Boyd to enter Columbia University. 17 

Bassett served other students, less well known, in a multitude 
of ways. Nat C. Newbold inquired whether he and his brother 
should borrow money to continue their education at Trinity, and 
if so, could Bassett persuade "Mr. Duke [to] lend each of them 
$125-$150"? 18 High school teachers called upon him for materials 
to aid students preparing for debates. 19 A Burlington man 
requested "a few points" on a subject he was to present at an 
Ep worth League reception, and "also refer me to books where I 
shall be able to find some for myself." Bassett endorsed the 
letter "One of many." 20 

15 Charles C. Weaver to Bassett, November 24, 1897, Bassett Papers. See also, Bassett to 
Adams, January 24, April 17, 1898; June 13, 1899, Adams Papers; Bassett to Adams, April 3, 
1899, Holt (ed.), Historical Scholarship in the United States, p. 270. 

16 Mrs. N. B. McDowell to Bassett, February 11, 1897, Bassett Papers. 

17 Quotations are from Bassett to Adams, January 24, 1898; May 27, 1900, Adams Papers. 
See also, Bassett to Adams, June 17, 1900; April 21, 1901, Adams Papers; Adams to Bassett, 
June 19, 1900; May 9, 1901, Bassett Papers. 

18 Nat C. Newbold to Bassett, March 4, 1897, Bassett Papers. 

18 J. A. Baldwin to Bassett, March 22, 1897, Bassett Papers; Edward S. Yarbrough to 
Bassett, April 10, 1897, Bassett Papers. 

20 R. E. Hunt to Bassett, February 13, 1897, Bassett Papers. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 295 

If Bassett had done nothing more than teach, he would have 
earned his salary. In 1904 he wrote to William E. Dodd that his 
weekly load had been fifteen hours for many years, that the past 
year he had taught eighteen, and that he had constantly engaged 
in library activity. 21 He did not mention the fact that he was 
then editor of the South Atlantic Quarterly, that he had sundry 
research products under way, that he devoted considerable time 
to his students outside the classroom, and that he was interested 
in civic affairs. 

Bassett taught a wide variety of courses, some of them far 
afield from history, but here it is enough to present only those 
that were related to the history of the South. He did not intro- 
duce a course in that field ; not until after Boyd succeeded Bassett 
in 1906 was a course in southern history inaugurated. In the ses- 
sion of 1896-1897 two courses in state history were offered. One, 
a senior course running the entire year one period a week, was 
listed as "History of North Carolina" ; the other, a graduate 
course in "The Political and Social Development of North Caro- 
lina," was designed to provide "as extensive a view of the history 
of the State as the imperfect materials to be had on that subject 
will warrant. Continual opportunity will be offered for preparing 
original papers." The following year the description of the un- 
dergraduate course was expanded to express the hope that stu- 
dents would be "able to understand the methods of original re- 
search from an examination of the materials at first hand. It is 
believed that this course will give students an impetus to histori- 
cal writing and induce them to be more active in the collection of 
historical material." 22 

It was not state pride that prompted Bassett to introduce 
North Carolina history into the curriculum. Indeed, he told 
members of the Trinity College Historical Society, he would not 
delude them into thinking that North Carolinians were "the 
greatest people in the union, or in the world," for others "have 
had a greater influence on the developmnt of our common country 
than we." If it were necessary to choose either national or state 

21 Bassett to William E. Dodd, February 2, 1904, William E. Dodd Papers (Division of 
Manuscripts, Library of Congress). 

22 Trinity College Catalogue for the Year 1896-'97 (Durham, 1897), pp. 50, 63; lS97-'98 
(Durham, 1898), p. 53. 

296 The North Carolina Historical Review 

history, the former should be elected. Fortunately, the course of 
study would admit both. 23 

The department's offerings were never static. In the spring 
semester of the 1899-1900 session Bassett taught as a junior- 
senior subject "Secession in North America." It was his purpose 
"to make a close study of the development of the political life of 
the South, both before and after the war, as well as to examine 
in an impartial way the military history of the great struggles 
between the North and South." Graduate students who had not 
taken the course during the senior year were eligible for one with 
only a slight change in description. A one-semester, three-hour 
course in "Secession and Reconstruction" appeared for the first 
time in the 1901-1902 catalogue. It was designed to give students 
"an opportunity to study that correlative process by which that 
older idea of separateness rebelled against the newer idea of 
nationality and the effects which proceeded therefrom." These 
were not systematic courses in the history of the South, but 
apparently they embraced much material ordinarily included in 
the content of southern history. 24 

The Trinity College Historical Society had functioned for over 
two years before Bassett joined the faculty. "The object of the 
Society," according to its constitution, should "be to collect, 
arrange and preserve a library of books, pamphlets, maps, charts, 
manuscripts, papers, paintings, statuary and other materials 
illustrative of the history of North Carolina and of the South; 
rescue as far as possible from forgetf ulness the names and deeds 
of our first settlers; to encourage original work in the field of 
Southern history and to promote the study of the same by means 
of lectures and publications." 25 There is reason to believe that 
no local historical association ever succeeded better than the 
Society at Trinity College in effecting its program. 

Both faculty and students participated in the meetings of the 
society, and officers were chosen from both groups with students 
predominating. Papers were read not only by students and faculty 
but also by visiting lecturers. Bassett vitalized the organization 
and gave it widespread influence. According to the society's 

23 Address to the society, October 13, 1904, Nannie M. Tilley, The Trinity College Historical 
Society, 1892-1941 (Durham, 1941), pp. 49-50. 

24 Trinity College Catalogue for the Year 1899-1900 (Durham, 1900), p. 61; 1901-1902 (Dur- 
ham, 1902). p. 66. 

25 Quoted in Tilley, Trinity College Historical Society, pp. 12-13. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 297 

historian, his contributions may be summarized as follows : "The 
establishment of a historical museum, the institution of a civic 
celebration held annually on February 22, the introduction of 
outside speakers, and the publication of Historical Papers, . . . 
But these external evidences of activity were merely a part of 
more fundamental aims for building a valuable collection of 
source materials and for promoting freedom of thought in the 
South."? 6 

To stimulate interest in the society, Bassett resorted first to 
the assembling of a museum and second to the inauguration of a 
publication program. Both of these objects succeeded admirably. 
"From the day the museum was founded," Bassett wrote, "the 
interest in the Society sprang into new life. I am satisfied that it 
was the turning point in the life of the organization." The mu- 
seum had its origin in the fall of 1894. Students, faculty, and 
friends of the college donated or collected relics, manuscripts, and 
books. In the spring of 1898 Bassett appealed "To the Friends of 
North Carolina History," through the medium of the Christian 
Educator, for information that would lead to the acquisition of 
"books, pamphlets, documents, letters, addresses, sketches, etc.," 
or to the discovery of "abandoned" libraries. 27 

When Bassett began his labors at Trinity, he wrote Adams in 
1898, "such a thing as a document collection was unknown." Now 
there were over 2,000 documents, and he had been promised a 
fireproof vault in which to house them. He noted with satisfaction 
contributions by the Dukes to a library endowment and also funds 
to erect a building which Bassett hoped would be spacious enough 
to house a hundred thousand volumes. By 1900 the trustees had 
appointed him "manager of the library," and soon thereafter he 
noted a gift of $10,000 available for the purchase of books when 
the building was completed. He expected "to do something with 
Southern history on the strength of it." 28 

It was Bassett's ambition to provide a medium of publication 
for the society. Here again he was following in Adams' footsteps, 
realizing that the Studies in Historical and Political Science 
constituted a cornerstone of the Hopkins program. Bassett's 

26 Tilley, Trinity College Historical Society, pp. 26-27. 

27 Tilley, Trinity College Historical Society, pp. 29n, 37, and passim. 

28 Bassett to Adams, April 17, May 22, 1898; June 13, 1899; November 2, 1900, Adams 
Papers; Bassett to Adams, December 7, 1900, Holt (ed.), Historical Scholarship in the United 
States, p. 292. 

298 The North Carolina Historical Review 

scheme, a very modest affair at its inception, was launched in 
1895. He arranged with the editor of a student publication, The 
Archive, to run off 200 reprints of each historical article published 
therein, and at the end of the year they were bound into a booklet 
of eighty-five pages. The first issue cost only $25, and the 
administration was so impressed that it promised to contribute 
that amount annually. "So far as I know," Bassett wrote Adams, 
"this is but one of three historical publications (not including 
patriotic publications) in the South. It is the only one in N. C." 29 

The society now possessed an inexpensive but useful organ in 
which papers by students, faculty members, and others reached 
the printed page. It was Bassett's ingenuity that inaugurated the 
Historical Papers; Boyd's leadership that gave them permanency 
and substantial merit. Helpful as the Papers were, they did not 
serve every purpose that Bassett had in mind. Dissatisfaction 
with the policitcal situation in North Carolina, the necessity for 
a better solution of the race problem in the South, and in general 
the need for critical and independent thought as a basis for action 
prompted a desire for a medium with catholic scope and wider 
circulation. He therefore launched the South Atlantic Quarterly 
in 1902, and the Historical Papers were temporarily abandoned. 
Further inquiry into his teaching is necessary if one would 
understand the motive behind the Quarterly. 

At the beginning of the academic year 1897-1898 Bassett had 
reason to feel optimistic. "Our college year has opened well," 
he wrote Adams. "I am doing more satisfactory work, to my- 
self, than I have done since I have been here. ... I am trying to 
put a new spirit into the historical work of the South — so far 
as my influence extends." The night before, he addressed the 
society "on our historical ideal," and the subject aroused interest. 
When he urged liberty to think, a renaissance in ideas, and "a 
respectful hearing" for divergent opinions, members of the 
society applauded. 30 

The speech itself indicates that Bassett understood the status 
of history writing in the South and the need for improvement. 
Three factors circumscribed southern historiography: "a lack 

29 Bassett to Adams, January 16, 1896, Holt (ed.), Historical Scholarship in the United 
States, pp. 242-243. See also Southern History Association Publications (Washington, 1897- 
1907), I (1897), 234. 

30 Bassett to Adams, September 26, 1897, Holt (ed.), Historical Scholarship in the United 
States, p. 246. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 299 

of proper historical ideals, a dearth of trained investigators, and 
a failure to collect sources of information." As to the first, 
southerners had written memoirs and newspaper anecdotes, 
magnified ancestral accomplishments, used "flimsy evidences' , to 
establish the impossible, "and all of this we have called, and al- 
lowed others to call, history." This was wrong and should be 
stopped. A proper concept of history demanded a faithful, sys- 
tematic, and comprehensive record of man's heritage ; and, so far 
as biography was concerned, "a portrayal of all the forces of 
life" that influenced the subject. 

In the second place, Bassett believed that the past should be 
recorded by trained historians. He paid his respects to the 
"Confederate-Brigadier-General type." In "public office of com- 
fortable emolument" veterans of the war who "fought bravely 
with the sword are thus tempted to make asses of themselves 
with the pen." The historian of the future must have other 
qualifications than Confederate experience: "He must know 
how to weigh evidence; he must have the scientific spirit for 
facts; he must have the clear light of truth; he must have a 
knowledge of the habits of men in other places and in other 
times ; he must know the bearings of other sciences and of liter- 
atures on history; more than all this, he must have facility in 
coming to historical judgments before he can so view the things 
that come before him that his view shall be valuable to us." 

One thing was yet lacking. The scientifically trained historian 
could not record and interpret the past without original mate- 
rials. Southerners had "pride of ancestry and . . . loyalty to our 
institutions," but they made few documents available to the 
historian. The society could stimulate North Carolinians with 
ancient lineage to provide the chronicler with records from chests 
and garrets. 

Closely related to these difficulties was an absence of accuracy 
of thought. There was no substitute for "a devotion to truth!" 
As an illustration, southerners who had written about the War 
for Southern Independence and its issues had depended upon 
feeling rather than fact. "No man with instincts for accuracy 
can be satisfied with our statement of our own case. We have 
first of all to put beyond question the correctness of our position 
in the controversy." Southern people insisted upon "immunity 

300 The North Carolina Historical Review 

from criticism, " and when any one of their number advocated 
an untraditional view he was "denounced as a traitor and a mer- 
cenary denier of his birthplace." Accuracy demanded that evi- 
dence on both sides of controversial issues should be heard. "Let 
us conduct ourselves/' Bassett urged, "that the world may know 
that there is in the South at least one spot in which our history 
may be presented in all of its claims, and where it may receive 
a respectful and unimpassioned hearing. If we cannot do this 
we are no historians, we are but partisans." 31 

The views of the thirty-year-old Bassett disclosed to Trinity 
College students in 1897 were drawn in part from lessons learned 
at the Hopkins with practical application to the needs of North 
Carolina and the South. His statements of the scientific concept 
of history, the need for trained historians, and the obligation to 
preserve historical materials are still valid after the lapse of 
half a century ; the conservatism of southern society in the gen- 
eration in which he expressed them made his doctrines little less 
than revolutionary. 

Preliminary to launching the South Atlantic Quarterly, Bassett 
engaged in voluminous correspondence with friends, mainly in 
the South and chiefly in the historical guild. His letter files 
supplement the magazine itself in yielding evidence of the edi- 
tor's efforts to build up a forum of liberal thought and of contem- 
porary reaction to his accomplishments. Sponsored originally 
by the "9019" society of Trinity College, it was soon taken over 
by a publishing company formed by a local group. 32 Bassett 
hoped eventually to pay contributors, but remuneration was 
impossible at its inception. During the first year, however, 
certain contributors were given five subscriptions to the Quar- 
terly, one for the author and four for non-subscribers designated 
by him. 33 The first year closed "with out loss or profit," a 
result that was indeed gratifying. 34 

The Quarterly was in part modelled after the Sewanee Review, 
brain-child of William P. Trent, which began publication a decade 
earlier. The new venture would "be devoted to the literary, 
historical, and social development of the South," the "sober and 
instructive articles" would be designed to appeal "to the smaller 

31 The speech is quoted in Tilley, Trinity College Historical Society, pp. 51-59. 

32 Typescript memoir, Bassett Papers. 

33 Bassett to John M. Vincent, November 27, December 8, 1901, Adams Papers. 

34 Bassett to Vincent, November 2, 1902, Adams Papers. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 301 

audience of serious minded" southerners. With friends in south- 
ern colleges and universities pledging an enthusiastic coopera- 
tion, Bassett brought out the first issue in January, 1902. The 
Quarterly would be "a medium of encouraging every honest 
literary effort," he announced. To accomplish this end "there 
must be liberty to think," and the editor would therefore accept 
contributions even though the opinions expressed differed from 
his own. If he could stimulate among southerners a search for 
truth, the existence of the journal would be justified. 35 

For nearly two years southern conservatives ignored the 
Quarterly and its liberal spirit. Friends of liberalism com- 
mended its policy, although some of them pointed to a prepon- 
derance of historical articles in early numbers and to a promi- 
nence of Trinity professors among its contributors. 36 As the 
editor's acquaintance widened and the magazine acquired a cred- 
itable reputation, these unbalances were partially adjusted. 
In other premises commendation was unrestrained. Edwin A. 
Alderman, president of Tulane University, wrote Bassett "what 
a wonderfully good magazine you are making. It is the best 
thing that has ever appeared in my day in the South. Its dig- 
nity, its freedom of speech, its calmness, its evident determina- 
tion to speak the truth, commend it most highly to me." 37 Ac- 
knowledging a copy of the Quarterly, Charles M. Andrews of 
Bryn Mawr College asserted that "You have certainly undertaken 
a magnificent work in attempting to develop what you call a 
more vital literary activity in the South and the result of your 
experiment will be watched with the greatest interest and sym- 
pathy by every one who is concerned for the educational and 
literary future of this country. ... I look with increasing admi- 
ration upon you men of the South, from North Carolina to Texas, 
for the enthusiasm and energy that you are all displaying in the 
endeavor, to show your historical colleagues of the Middle, North, 
and West that there is a great world south of Mason and Dixon's 
line, full of latent power and force, that only needs cultivation 

35 Bassett to Henry G. Connor, November 12, 1901, Henry G. Connor Papers (University 
of North Carolina library); Bassett to Vincent, December 8, 1901, Adams Papers; "Editor's 
Announcement," South Atlantic Quarterly, I (1902), 1-3. 

36 Charles L. Raper to Bassett, February 2, 1902, Bassett Papers; Dodd to Bassett, Febru- 
ary 6, 1902, Bassett Papers; Burr J. Ramage to Bassett, May 1, 1902, Bassett Papers. Raper 
was personally piqued at Bassett because of an unfavorable review of his North Carolina: A 
Royal Province, 1729-1775 (1901). See South Atlantic Quarterly, I (1902), 93-94. 

37 Edwin A. Alderman to Bassett, October 19, 1903, Bassett Papers. 

' ' 

302 The North Carolina Historical Review 

to show what it can accomplish." 38 Other appraisals, similarly 
phrased, came in letters from many scholars or appeared in 
newspapers and literary magazines. 39 

Bassett contributed frequently to the Quarterly during his 
forty months as editor; less often after he retired from that 
position. He got to "The Bottom of the Matter" in the second 
number with a discussion of the South's literary backwardness. 
Literature, he said, would not emanate from the southern region 
until southerners desired it. He found "no strong love of books" 
in the South. The situation could not be explained by saying 
that no good books were written by southerners or that they 
were too indigent to purchase them. Four forces, Bassett 
thought, provided a foundation for future achievement: the 
development of southern urban life, an educational renaissance, 
a regional pride that demanded creative literary effort, and a 
sufficient esthetic sense for the appreciation of "at least the 
lighter and entertaining forms of literature." 40 

In presenting "The Problems of the Author in the South," 
Bassett named first southern provincialism which fostered anti- 
quated "matter of thought" and annihilated "that literary at- 
mosphere which writers find essential to creative work." Some 
authors had left the South temporarily, some permanently, to 
breathe "the fresh air of cosmopolitanism." Southern institu- 
tions of higher learning were responsible for "poverty of scholar- 
ship," for education was "too shallow to give the culture which 
must underlie literary production." Poverty of the author was 
another factor. But perhaps the greatest impediment to creative 
and productive work was a resentful attitude toward criticism, 
notably among newspaper editors. Bassett cited the attack by a 
North Carolinian on Trent's biography of William Gilmore 
Simms. The editor might disagree with the author, but why 
should he characterize him as a miscreant and assail his personal 
rectitude? "The future of authorship in the South," Bassett 

88 Charles M. Andrews to Bassett, May, 1902, Bassett Papers. 

39 See, for example, W. Roy Smith to Bassett, February 13, 1902, Bassett Papers; Dodd to 
Bassett, April 28, 1902; February 5, 1903, Bassett Papers; Thomas M. Owen to Bassett, July 
14, 1902, Bassett Papers; Bernard C. Steiner to Bassett, July 15, 1902; November 2, 1903, 
Bassett Papers; Franklin L. Riley to Bassett, November 10, 1902, Bassett Papers; Charles F. 
Smith to Bassett, November 22, 1902, Bassett Papers; American Historical Review, VII 
(1901-1902), 822; Sewanee Review, X (1902), 251-252. 

40 [John S. Bassett], "The Bottom of the Matter," South Atlantic Quarterly, I (1902), 
pp. 99-106. 

c ■ 

I i 

I • 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 303 

concluded, "will be in the hands of the new man" — one "not 
descended from what are supposed to be the leading classes." 41 

Political intolerance in the South greatly disturbed him. In 
an article on "The Reign of Passion," he alluded to an unidenti- 
fied convention in North Carolina, undoubtedly an assemblage 
of Republicans — "a representative gathering of American citi- 
zens" who "were performing not only an innocent and a legal, 
but a beneficial act of citizenship." A Democratic paper in a 
nearby town reported the proceedings in "a spirit of contempt- 
uous vituperation. Not content with attacking the views of 
its adversaries," the editor proceeded "to ridicule them personally 
and individually." Southerners had "long ceased to battle for 
ideas"; real statesmanship of the past was supplanted by "ap- 
peals to feeling." Bassett traced historically the growing domi- 
nance of passion in southern politics, and urged tolerant dif- 
ferences of opinion as a desideratum. 42 

Bassett' s most provocative article, "Stirring Up the Fires of 
Race Antipathy," appeared in the October, 1903, issue. 43 It 
is analyzed in some detail elsewhere; 44 here it is sufficient to 
indicate that the piece caused a storm of protest from North 
Carolina conservatives and a demand that he resign. He suc- 
cessfully weathered the storm, and academic freedom gained 
a notable victory. 

Soon thereafter William E. Dodd contributed an article on 
"Some Difficulties of the History Teacher in the South," 45 and 
dissentients expressed themselves in strong language. Bassett 
replied in "The Task of the Critic." According to the editor, 
Dodd "was pronounced a traitor to the South and a flatterer of 
those who were not in sympathy with the section in which he 
lives." Bassett did not attempt to "defend" Dodd nor to "con- 
trovert" his enemies. He spoke of the eternal war of the critic 
on conservatism : "It is not to be denied that both conservatism 
and criticism abuse their functions at times. Conservatism 

41 [John S. Bassett], "The Problems of the Author in the South," South Atlantic Quar- 
terly, I (1902), pp. 201-208. 

42 [John S. Bassett], "The Reign of Passion," South Atlantic Quarterly, I (1902), pp. 

43 [John S. Bassett], "Stirring Up the Fires of Race Antipathy," South Atlantic Quar- 
terly, II (1903), 297-305. 

4 * See a companion study, "The Negro in the Thinking and Writing of John Spencer 
Bassett," which will appear in the October, 1948, issue of The North Carolina Historical 

R@ / VL&1U 

4B Wiiliam E. Dodd, "Some Difficulties of the History Teacher in the South," South At- 
lantic Quarterly, III (1904), 117-122. 

304 The North Carolina Historical Review 

summons prejudice to its aid all too frequently .... the defenders 
of conservatism turn on the critic in furious personal attacks. 
They denounce his motives ; they pronounce him a traitor to his 
people." But the critic also had his faults. He overstated, 
often deliberately, "the extent of the evils which he seeks to 
remedy." 46 

The South Atlantic Quarterly under Bassett's editorship con- 
tained more than literary criticism and analyses of present-day 
southern problems, for he published a generous proportion of 
historical articles. The editor himself made such contributions 
as the "Character of the Early Virginia Trade," "The Industrial 
Decay of the Southern Planter," "The Negro's Inheritance from 
Africa," and "A Revival of Interest in North Carolina His- 
tory." 47 Among other articles written by southern men on 
southern subjects were: "The Anti-Slavery Sentiment in Vir- 
ginia," by James C. Ballagh; 48 "North Carolina in the Revolu- 
tion," by William E. Dodd; 49 "The Peace Movement in Alabama 
During the Civil War," by Walter L. Fleming; 50 "The Economics^ 
of the Plantation" and "Conservatism and Progress in the Cotton 
Belt," by Ulrich B. Phillips; 51 "The Removal of Legal and Po- 
litical Disabilities, 1868-1898," by J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton,** 
and "Some Effects of Industrialism in an Agricultural State," 
by Holland Thompson. 53 

Bassett's valedictory as editor of the Quarterly appeared in 
the first issue of 1905. He retired "reluctantly," he said, "be- 
cause of an accumulation of other labors which cannot be de- 
clined." He expressed his obligation to "the intelligent men — 
most of them Southerners — who have been chiefly responsible 
for the success of the enterprise," and he was pleased "that the 
literary life of the South was being advanced. The difficulties 
of the undertaking, which at first were many, have continually 
decreased. The fact that every article in the present number 
is by a native Southerner is a matter of gratification to the 
editor." 54 

48 [John S. Bassett], "The Task of the Critic," South Atlantic Quarterly, III (1904), 297-301. 
"South Atlantic Quarterly, I (1902), 73-81; II (1903), 107-113; III (1904), 99-108, 370-376. 
48 South Atlantic Quarterly, I (1902), 107-117. 
"South Atlantic Quarterly, I (1902), 156-161. 

00 South Atlantic Quarterly, II (1903), 114-124, 246-260. 

01 South Atlantic Quarterly, II (1903), 231-236; III (1904), 1-10. 

02 South Atlantic Quarterly, II (1903), 346-358; III (1904), 39-51. 
63 South Atlantic Quarterly, IV (1905), 71-77. 

M South Atlantic Quarterly, IV (1905), 91. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 305 

During Bassett's first half dozen years at Trinity College he 
established himself as a North Carolina historian. As a grad- 
uate student at the Hopkins and as professor at Trinity, he wisely 
exploited local sources; with few exceptions his publications 
before the turn of the century treated aspects of his own state's 
history. In concentrating upon local materials in his formative 
years, he was following sound principle, but perhaps a major 
factor in determining his interest was the publication, between 
1886 and 1890, of that ten- volume storehouse of primary evi- 
dence, The Colonial Records of North Carolina. He began his 
monograph on "The Regulators of North Carolina" (1895) by 
suggesting that the printing of these documents would require a 
revision of the colonial epoch. 55 Nearly eighty per cent of the 
citations in this study were to that monumental work; his doc- 
tor's dissertation, The Constitutional Beginnings of North Caro- 
lina (1894), 56 depended upon it in equal amount; and more than 
half of the material in his Slavery and Servitude in the Colony of 
North Carolina (1896) 57 was drawn from it. Next in impor- 
tance for his colonial and state studies were the North Carolina 
laws and codes. Court reports were used to good advantage, 
and so were newspapers on occasion, particularly in Anti- Slavery 
Leaders of North Carolina (1898) 58 and in Slavery in the State 
of North Carolina (1899). 59 There was a sprinkling of cita- 
tions to manuscripts, mainly to unpublished laws and to records 
of religious groups. Two colonial accounts — John Lawson's A 
New Voyage To Carolina; Containing the Exact Description and 
Natural History of that Country (1709) and John Brickell's The 
Natural History of North-Carolina (1737) — provided substantial 
contemporary evidence, and four or five early histories of the 
commonwealth were used with discrimination. John A. Doyle's 
English Colonies in America (1882-1907) and Justin Winsor's 
Narrative and Critical History of America (1884-1889) were 
employed for background; and monographs by other Hopkins 
students promoted comparisons with other states. 

85 American Historical Association, Annual Report, 1894 (Washington, 1895), pp. 141-212. 
For Bassett's brief paper, "Suffrage in the State of North Carolina," see American His- 
torical Association, Annual Report, 1895 (Washington, 1896), pp. 269-285. 

08 Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, ser. XII, no. 3. 

87 John Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, ser. XIV, nos. 4-5. 

88 John Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, ser. XVI, no. 6. 

89 John Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, ser. XVII, nos. 

306 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Bassett's study of the Regulators is easily the best of his North 
Carolina brochures. Most of the pertinent sources were utilized, 
the evidence was handled judiciously, and "The Regulation Pro- 
per" was prefaced by consideration of the country's topography, 
the colony's social and institutional patterns, the Regulators' 
grievances, the leaders of the movement, and previous conflicts 
between authority and settlers. While Bassett was fair to royal 
agents in the colony, he regarded the movement as "a worthy 
struggle for liberty," and he concluded that "justness" was 
"chiefly on the side of the Regulators." He insisted that the 
Regulation was "a peasants' rising, a popular upheaval," rather 
than a revolution, and that it was political and economic rather 
than religious. 60 

Beyond his North Carolina studies, Bassett's Trinity College 
tenure yielded two significant works, an edition of The Writings 
of "Colonel William Byrd of Westover in Virginia, Esq r ." (1901) , 
and a volume in the American Nation Series, The Federalist 
System, 1789-1801 (1906). Brief articles appeared from time 
to time not only in the South Atlantic Quarterly but also in his- 
torical periodicals and elsewhere. 

The Byrd volume was published in attractive format in limited 
edition. An eighty-page introduction, "The Byrd Family in 
Virginia," was a creditable essay on social, economic, and politi- 
cal life in the Old Dominion during the latter half of the seven- 
teenth century and the first half of the eighteenth, as reflected 
in the careers of the first two William Byrds. Material for the 
biographical sketches and their background was drawn mainly 
from the letters of the Byrds, father and son ; the Noel W. Sains- 
bury transcripts of Virginia papers in the British Public Record 
Office; and the Minutes of the Virginia Council. Among mis- 
cellaneous sources were the "Byrd Title-book," the Alexander 
Spotswood letters, William W. Hening's Statutes at Large, and 
the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Bassett con- 
cluded that the elder Byrd "had a great deal of business capacity 
and somewhat less of social capacity, while the younger had a 
great deal of social capacity and somewhat less of business ca- 

60 John S. Bassett, "The Regulators of North Carolina," America Historical Association, 
Annual Report, 1894, pp. 141-143, 211. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 307 

parity." 61 Some errors in the essay were corrected by the later 
researches of Philip A. Bruce, Thomas J. Wertenbaker, and Louis 
B. Wright, and the last in particular greatly expanded our knowl- 
edge of the Byrd family and its background. 

Encouraged by J. Franklin Jameson, 62 Bassett intended to 
publish many of the extant Byrd letters, but when he discovered 
that the Virginia Historical Society was assembling them for 
publication in its Magazine, he decided to reprint only a few for 
illustrative purposes. He included in his edition of the Writings 
the "History of the Dividing Line," "A Journey to the Land of 
Eden," "A Progress to the Mines," and some "Miscellaneous Let- 
ters." As appendixes he printed "A Catalogue of Books in the 
Library at Westover Belonging to William Byrd Esqr." and a 
genealogy of the Byrd family prepared originally by William G. 
Stanard, secretary of the Virginia Historical Society. 

It has been noted that Bassett resigned as editor of the South 
Atlantic Quarterly because "other labors" had been accumulating. 
The important task he had accepted was a volume in the Ameri- 
can Nation Series, with a deadline that required concentrated 
effort. Not until October 22, 1904, did Albert B. Hart, editor of 
the cooperative work, invite him to contribute the Federalist 
System to the series, and the invitation designated August 1 of 
the following year as the date when the completed manuscript 
must be in his hands. As Bassett had but nine months to do the 
research and write 70,000 words, it is understandable why he 
relinquished editorship of the Quarterly. 

Hart explained that Andrew C. McLaughlin had agreed to 
write volume XI as well as volume X (The Confederation and the 
Constitution) , but that it would be impossible for him to finish 
the second on schedule. As Edward Channing, a New Eng- 
lander, would write the Jeffersonian System, "there would be 
an obvious fitness in committing the previous volume to a South- 
ern man whose reputation for fairness of view is so well estab- 
lished as yours." 63 Apparently the manuscript was finished on 
schedule, for Hart wrote on August 29, 1905, that he was return- 

61 John S. Bassett (ed. ), The Writings of "Colonel William Byrd of Westover in Virginia 
Esqr." (Garden City, N. Y., 1901), p. xlii. The volume was not a money-making proposition 
for Bassett. He received $100 for editorial work and $40 to pay the cost of typing. Double- 
day, Page and Company to Bassett, April 22, 1901, Bassett Papers. For correspondence rela- 
tive to the $10 price of the volume, see Dodd to Bassett, October 6, 1901, Bassett Papers; 
Bassett to Dodd, October 11, 1901, Dodd Papesr. 

62 J. Franklin Jameson to Bassett, April 19, 1901, Bassett Papers. 
68 Albert B. Hart to Bassett, October 22, 1904, Bassett Papers. 

308 The North Carolina Historical Review 

ing it for slight revision. "The volume is an excellent one," he 
commented, "and will take an honorable place in the series. I 
am amazed that you have been able, under such pressure, to write 
so smoothly, incisively, and so much to the point. You have 
seized better than some of the other authors, on the fundamental 
idea that the series deals with large subjects in a large way." 
Hart was pleased with the "tone" as well as the organization, 
and as to composition, "the style has been polished to such a 
point of completion that the book might almost go to press as it 
reached me." The several pages of editorial comment and criti- 
cism that Hart enclosed concerned, for the most part, matters 
of minor import. 

The manuscript was back in the editor's hands by October 10, 64 
and it was published in January, 1906. Bassett's accomplish- 
ment in so short a time was almost incredible; few historians 
could have delivered the study so promptly. The task could 
hardly have been completed on time if the author had been re- 
quired to examine manuscript materials. A letter of inquiry in 
this premise brought a statement of editorial policy: a plethora 
of printed sources would provide sufficient evidence, and a pau- 
city of time would preclude research in manuscripts. 65 Footnotes 
as well as the "Critical Essay on Authorities" indicate that Bas- 
sett used the pertinent printed sources, and that he also examined 
monographs and biographies. 

Hart's eulogistic appraisal of the work seems justified. The 
organization of the volume was clear and logical; illustrative 
material was well selected and woven into the narrative unob- 
trusively; the text was written in simple but forceful English. 
It emphasized political and diplomatic history, though an effort 
was made to round out and balance the dozen years under review 
by chapters on "The Republican Court," "The State of Society," 
and "Economic Conditions." The warring political factions of 
the period were presented with less bias than in many treatises 
written thirty or forty years later, though the author was slightly 
prejudiced in favor of the Federalists and the system they es- 

The Life of Andrew Jackson did not appear until 1911, but the 
project was under way as early as 1902. In that year Bassett 

64 Hart to Bassett, October 10, 1905, Bassett Papers. 
« B Hart to Bassett, November 4, 1904, Bassett Papers. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 309 

received permission from the Blair family to use Jackson manu- 
scripts in their possession. 66 The Quarterly and the Federalist 
System occupied so much of his time that serious work was post- 
poned until 1906. The two-volume biography of the seventh 
president of the United States was largely the product of his 
early years at Smith College. 

The work was based largely upon Jackson papers, though the 
manuscripts of some of his contemporaries, notably Martin Van 
Buren, were utilized with advantage, as were also printed sources, 
monographs, and earlier biographies. Bassett's reliance upon 
unpublished sources as "the best portrayers of Jackson" is indi- 
cated in his preface. "They reveal faithfully a man who was 
great, spite of many limitations. He was badly educated, he 
was provincial, his passions frequently overcast judgment, he 
had a poor concept of a proper adjustment of the administrative 
machine, and he clung tenaciously to some of the worst political 
ideals of the past; yet he was so well endowed by nature that 
he broke over these impediments and became a man of distinc- 
tion." Bassett depicted Jackson as a product of the American 
frontier and emphasized its influence upon his thought and 
action. 67 Despite his southern birth and residence, his planting 
experience and the ownership of slaves, it was the West rather 
than the South that conditioned his genius for military and 
political leadership. The influence of the South was too largely 
ignored, for only incidental mention was made of Jackson the 
planter and slaveholder. The biography was, as a contemporary 
reviewer pointed out, "a Life of Jackson, not a Life and Times." 68 
The revolution in democracy, the great constitutional struggles, 
the development of a party machine, the social revolution, human- 
itarian trends, the agrarian-industrial cleavage — all these were 
touched upon but not emphasized. Later writers modified his 

66 Edward G. Bourne to Bassett, November 19, 1902, Bassett Papers. Bassett was invited 
in 1903 to contribute a life of Jackson to the American Crises Biographies, edited by Ellis P. 
Oberholtzer, but he was already committed to Doubleday, Page and Company. Oberholtzer to 
Bassett, November 9, 1903, Bassett Papers. 

67 John S. Bassett, The Life of Andrew Jackson, 2 vols. (Garden City, N. Y., 1911), I, xi. 
The necessity of publishing the work in two volumes gave Doubleday, Page and Company 
considerable misgivings, and to appease the publishers Bassett agreed to forego royalties on 
the first six hundred sets. Two years after the work appeared, the company still lacked $600 
of breaking even, and Arthur H. Page agreed to sell the plates for that amount despite the 
fact that they cost $1,400. Negotiations continued until 1915 when Page agreed to sell them 
to the Macmillan Company for $200. Macmillan contracted to bring out a new edition and to 
pay the author 10 per cent royalty on the first five hundred copies sold and 15 per cent there- 
after. Arthur H. Page to Bassett, October 13, November 7, 1913; August 20, 1915, Bassett 
Papers; Doubleday, Page and Company to Bassett, July 31, 1915, Bassett Papers; Macmillan 
Company to Bassett, October 29, 1913; August 10, 1915, Bassett Papers. 

88 William MacDonald, in American Historical Review, XVII (1911-1912), 625. 

310 The North Carolina Historical Review 

treatment and brought new interpretation, but no subsequent 
work on Jackson and his period entirely superseded Bassett's 
ponderous volumes. 

To Dunning, who commended him on the production of "a 
sound, substantial, solid and interesting biography in a spirit 
of scientific history," Bassett replied that he had endeavored 
to write a "dignified and clear" account that "would interest 
intelligent and serious minded people. I did not wish to make 
it sparkling or highly frivolous," for such a presentation "would 
not allow me to handle properly the new material." 69 Crafts- 
manship was acceptable, but the author's heavy style was devoid 
of literary artistry. 

Bassett's understanding of Jackson matured but experienced 
no fundamental change in editing the six-volume Correspondence 
of Andrew Jackson (1926-1935). To each of the volumes he 
contributed a useful introduction, although three of them ap- 
peared after his demise. Research on Jackson and his period 
led him to an interesting by-path, Major Howell Tatum's Journal 
While Acting Topographical Engineer (1814) to General Jack- 
son, which appeared in the Smith College Studies in History 
(volume VII, numbers 1-3, October-April, 1921-1922). 

That Bassett did not abandon all interest in the history of the 
South after leaving Trinity College is evidenced by two pieces of 
editorial work. To the Smith College Studies in History, which 
he inaugurated in 1915, he contributed The Westover Journal of 
John A. Selden, Esqr., 1858-1662 (volume VI, number 4, July, 
1921), proprietor of a plantation once owned by the Byrds. His 
most important contribution to southern history after moving 
north was The Southern Plantation Overseer as Revealed in His 
Letters (1925). The volume embraced letters from overseers on 
James K. Polk's Mississippi plantation. Neglected by historians 
and romancers in favor of planters and slaves, the overseer was 
here revealed objectively through his periodic reports to his 
employer. The documents were reproduced in all their unlet- 
tered crudities, and they illustrated this most important planta- 
tion functionary's duties and responsibilities, his problems and 
his place in southern society. He was presented as a human 

89 William A. Dunning to Bassett, December 15, 1911, Bassett Papers; Bassett to Dunning, 
December 18, 1911, Bassett Papers. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 311 

personality, uneducated but intelligent, a liaison between the 
planter and his labor supply. Despite his illiteracy and his low 
station in society, he was entrusted with the care and manage- 
ment of property worth many thousands of dollars. The insti- 
tution of slavery was also revealed in the letters, for there was 
much about abscondings and punishments, births and deaths, 
life and labor. The volume was more than a mere reproduction 
of letters, for Bassett wrote introductory chapters on the over- 
seer's place in the plantation regime, the terms of his contract, 
and Polk's planting experience ; and he concluded the volume with 
essays on the services of New Orleans factors to upriver planters 
and "The Lesson of the Letters/ 

Of Bassett's other works emanating from his Smith College 
period, two were textbooks for college classes in American his- 
tory: A Short History of the United States (1913), which went 
through sundry editions and reprintings; and Expansion and 
Reform, 1889-1926 (1926), a volume in the Epochs of American 
History. Makers of a New Nation (1928) comprised volume IX 
of The Pageant of America, A Pictorial History of the United 
States. A valuable historiographical study, The Middle Group of 
American Historians (1917), contained thoughtful essays on 
Jared Sparks, George Bancroft, William H. Trescott, John L. 
Motley, and Peter Force, and there were introductory and closing 
chapters on historians who antedated the middle group and the 
relations of historians to their publishers. Closely related to this 
work were two collections of documents contributed to the Smith 
College Studies in History: the Correspondence of George Ban- 
croft and Jared Sparks, 1823-1832 (volume II, number 2, Janu- 
ary, 1917), and Letters of Francis Parkman to Pierre Margry 
(volume VIII, numbers 3-4, April- July, 1923). Bassett also 
edited, in the same field, The Writing of History (1926), and 
contributed to it a penetrating essay on "The Present State of 
History Writing." Three works concerned current American 
problems and international affairs : The Lost Fruits of Waterloo 
(1918) ; Our War With Germany: A History (1919) ; and The 
League of Nations; A Chapter in World Politics (1928) . 

By the turn of the century both Bassett and the cause of 
history in the South were recognized by the American Historical 
Association. The society's council appointed him a member of the 

312 The North Carolina Historical Review 

general committee in 1902, 70 a position he retained for several 
years. Bassett and other southern historians, with Dunning as an 
ally, promoted a meeting on southern soil, and sessions on 
southern history became a regular part of the association's 

Late in 1900 an effort was made to fix upon Nashville as the 
place of meeting in 1902. Bassett urged Adams to use his in- 
fluence with the council to provide a "missionary journey into 
the South" where there was "an appreciable revival of interest 
in the teaching of history. 71 A year later he encouraged 
Charles H. Haskins to sponsor Nashville's claims: "I believe it 
would do the cause of History in the South a vast deal of good if 
the meeting should be at Nashville. It would awaken interest on 
the part of Southerners. It would serve to strengthen the 
teaching of History in our colleges. It would, perhaps, give some- 
thing of a thrust at the Confederate-Brigadier-General kind of an 
historian — and that is a snake which ought to be hit whenever 
it is possible." A meeting at Nashville did not materialize, largely 
because the South had very few members and the program as 
well as attendance might suffer. 72 

Meanwhile, in the spring of 1901, Bassett suggested to 
Jameson the expediency of establishing a permanent committee 
of the association on southern history. Jameson thought it in- 
advisable to form a permanent organization for that field, but 
he was certain that history of the South would be "adequately 
represented" at the next annual meeting. 73 A southern history 
section was arranged, and Bassett was invited to present a paper 
on "The Relations of the Virginia Planter and the London 
Merchant." Other papers were read by Dodd, Lyon G. Tyler of 
William and Mary College, George P. Garrison of the University 
of Texas, and Bernard C. Steiner of the Enoch Pratt Free Library 
of Baltimore. 74 

70 American Historical Association, Annual Report, 1902, I, 38; Charles H. Haskins to 
Bassett, January 6, 1902, Bassett Papers. 

71 Bassett to Adams, December 18, 1900, Holt (ed.), Historical Scholarship in the United 
States, 292-293. See also Frederick W. Moore to Bassett, December 11, 1900, Bassett Papers. 

72 Bassett to Haskins, November 13, 1901, "A. H. A., Invitations from Various Organiza- 
tions for the Annual Meeting," American Historical Association Papers (Division of Manu- 
scripts, Library of Congress); Haskins to Bassett, December 7, 1901, Bassett Papers. See also 
Henry E. Bourne to Bassett, October 6, 1903, Bassett Papers, for request asking Bassett's 
help in increasing membership in the South. 

73 Jameson to Bassett, April 29, 1901, Bassett Papers. 

7 * Haskins to Bassett, July 15, October 4, November 9, 1901, Bassett Papers; Bassett to 
Lyon G. Tyler, August 18, 1901, "A. H. A. Programmes of Annual Meetings and Correspond- 
ence, 1896, '97, '99, 1900-1906," American Historical Association Papers; Charles H. Haskins, 
"Report of the Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Meeting of the American Historical 
Association," American Historical Association, Annual Report, 1901, I, 29-31. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 313 

Some southern historians were determined that the session 
allotted to them should accomplish more than the presentation 
of papers on the South. Dodd suggested to Bassett an "inter- 
change of ideas and plans" among "the really industrious, active 
Southern men." David Y. Thomas, recalling a recent discussion 
with Bassett, proposed a federation of historical societies in the 
South "with an official organ — say the Southern Historical 
Review." He believed that the new organization should absorb 
the Southern Historical Society and the Southern History As- 
sociation, though perhaps the former was too "exclusive" to 
federate. 75 

A journal of southern history did not materialize, but the 
southern section of the association adopted resolutions presented 
by Bassett proposing an investigation of the status of historical 
instruction in the South. He was appointed a member of a com- 
mittee, headed by Frederick W. Moore of Vanderbilt University, 
to make the investigation. The committee's report appeared in 
the Vanderbilt University Quarterly, 76 and Moore also contrib- 
uted to the South Atlantic Quarterly a brief article under the 
caption, "The Status of History in Southern Colleges." 77 

The association decided to hold its 1903 meeting in New 
Orleans, and Dunning was appointed to arrange a conference on 
"The Study and Teaching of History in the South." Bassett 
accepted a place on the program and proposed to talk on "The 
Relation of History Teaching and Southern Political Ideals." 
Dodd was scheduled for "Some Difficulties in the Way of the 
Teacher of History," and Moore, Thomas M. Owen, and 
Franklin L. Riley completed the roster of participants. Severe 
illness prevented Bassett from attending the meeting. A score of 
southerners registered, less than the number that came from 
faraway Massachusetts. Reports of the meeting which reached 
Bassett gave enthusiastic accounts of the southern section. 78 

75 Dodd to Bassett, November 1, 1901, Bassett Papers; David Y. Thomas to Bassett, Decem- 
ber 19, 1901, Bassett Papers. 

76 Moore to Bassett, January 4, 29, July 8, September 17, 1902; January 23, 1903, Bassett 
Papers; Charles H. Haskins, "Report of the Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Meeting of 
the American Historical Association," American Historical Association, Annual Report, 
1902, I, 31-32; Frederick W. Moore, "The Teaching of History in the South," Vanderbilt 
University Quarterly, III (1903), 8-27. 

77 Frederick W. Moore, "The Status of History in Southern Colleges," South Atlantic 
Quarterly, II (1903), 169-171. 

78 Dunning to Bassett, March 9, October 21, 1903; January 6, 1904, Bassett Papers; Dodd to 
Bassett, March 23, 1903; February 11, 1904, Bassett Papers; Bassett to Dodd, March 25, 
November 9, 1903, Dodd Papers; Brevard Nixon to Bassett, January 3, 1903 [1904], Bassett 

314 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Bassett continued to play an active role in the affairs of 
the association, though his interest in promoting the South 
waned after he transferred to Smith College. When "reform- 
ers, " several of them southerners, undertook to reorganize the 
association in 1914-1915, Bassett took a liberal but by no 
means extreme view. Soon thereafter, in 1919, he was elected 
secretary of the association, a position he held until his death in 
1928. In that capacity he was one of the prime movers in a 
project to endow the association. 

That Bassett welcomed a call from a northern school cannot be 
doubted. The thing he desired most was leisure time to write, an 
ambition that antedated graduate work at the Hopkins. A heavy 
teaching load at Trinity College, multifarious duties expected of 
a professor in a small school, inadequate library materials close 
at hand, and incipient faculty dissensions placed him in a 
receptive mood when an opportunity offered to move north. 

Charles D. Hazen, head of the department at Smith College, 
approached Bassett in the spring of 1906 regarding a vacancy at 
the Northhampton school. The position carried the rank of asso- 
ciate professor, a salary of $1,500, and a teaching load of ten or 
twelve hours. A library of 160,000 volumes and the proximity of 
several research centers were added inducements. As Bassett's 
salary at Trinity was then $2,100, plus the use of a house, he could 
not consider the offer seriously ; if the stipend were adequate he 
would "not hesitate to ask for the position." Hazen presented the 
matter to President Julius Seelye, with the result that an offer 
equivalent to Bassett's Durham salary was proposed and an 
invitation to an interview at Northampton extended. The nego- 
tiations materialized in an offer of a full professorship at a 
stipend of $2,500. 79 Meanwhile, Bassett sought Dunning's advice 
on the expediency of moving to Smith College, and the Columbia 
professor offered to investigate conditions at the New England 
school. He would regret to see the South lose Bassett, but if he 
were determined to leave he thought the Smith offer was a great 
opportunity, and it might be a step toward something even 
better. 80 Before Dunning could write again, Yale University 

70 Charles D. Hazen to Bassett, April or May ?, May 10, 15, 1906, Bassett Papers; Bassett to 
Hazen, May 3, 12, June 8, 10, 1906, Bassett Papers; Bassett to Julius Seelye, May 30, 1906, 
Bassett Papers. For Bassett's resignation at Trinity College, see Bassett to John C. Kilgo, 
May 30, 1906, Bassett Papers. 

80 Dunning to Bassett, May 14, 1900, Bassett Papers. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 315 

became interested in Bassett, and Dunnng's next letter con- 
trasted the two opportunities : 

"It is beautiful to think that New England has at last discovered 
N. C, & especially that Yale has discovered anything outside 
of Yale. The distinction of an offer from Y. is greater than the 
other ; but the general reputation of Y. for grinding the faces of 
its staff with class work is a bad one. You are in a position to 
make terms. Be sure to do it in that matter. They have a vast 
horde of students at Yale & no aspirations for higher than college 
work. Hence the necessity of grinding the profs. Smith is a 
comfortable place; Y. is apt to be the contrary. If from motives 
of Kudos you prefer discomfort, see that you are paid for it in 
good substantial coin of the realm." 81 

Bassett hoped to see Walter H. Page on his way to the North- 
ampton interview, but having failed in that, he penned his 
reasons for deciding to transfer. He reiterated his aspiration to 
write which would be promoted by "the quiet and stimulus of the 
New England town," and he pointed to the disadvantage of 
remaining in the South. He recalled Page's own pioneering efforts 
as a newspaper editor in North Carolina a score of years earlier, 
the state's failure to appreciate his preachments there, and his 
determination to leave the South. "No doubt twenty years from 
now young men will be doing glibly down here just what I should 
like to be doing today, writing freely without the drudgery of high 
school work and the impediment of scant library facilities; but 
twenty years from now I shall be nearly sixty years old. Can I 
do the world any good by sitting down waiting for the procession 
to come? And haven't I done about all I can do to hasten the 
arrival of the procession?" 82 

What were Bassett's reactions to his new environment? To 
William G. Brown, then nursing tuberculosis at Asheville, he 
wrote after a few months residence in Northampton: "I like 
the place very much, the people are pleasant, the work is not bad, 
the girls are studious, and I am satisfied. The New England ideals 
are not like those of the South, but they are not so different that 
I cannot like them. I know well what you felt in this country, the 
lack of the Southern touch, and the longing that the people of 

81 Dunning to Bassett, May 19, 1906, Bassett Papers. 

88 Bassett to Walter H. Page, May 29, 1906, Bassett Papers. 

316 The North Carolina Historical Review 

our part of [the] country had with their own virtues [for] some 
of the good things that the Northern people have shown so well 
how to establish. If to our warmth of spirit we could add the 
New England libraries, the New England Ideals of scholarship, 
and the New [England] wealth, how much could we not distance 
these people in the production of both literature and men ! But 
you know better than I." 83 

Boyd, Bassett's successor at Trinity College, spent the 
preceding year as instructor at Dartmouth and acquired an un- 
favorable view of New England life and students. He regretted 
that Bassett transferred to the Northeast, and a year after 
removal he took inventory of his reaction, to which Bassett 
replied : "You ask if I do not really want to be back in the South. 
Candidly, No." He then reviewed his labors at Trinity and con- 
trasted his new environment with the old. If he could retire after 
a decade on a Carnegie pension, he would spend his winters in the 
South, but the New England atmosphere, mental and physical, 
was too stimulating to think of returning permanently. 84 

Departing from formal historiography, it should be recorded 
that Bassett was a prodigious worker, a successful businessman, 
and a friendly colleague. He budgeted his time systematically, 
reserving a large portion of it for research and writing. Periodi- 
cally he resorted to a diary, particularly with the view of 
recording the number of words he wrote each day. Frequently he 
became discouraged with progress, and noted a determination to 
do better. Lapses in entries, when other activities interf erred for 
weeks with his daily stints, were followed by periods of sustained 
accomplishment, with a thousand words an average performance 
and three thousand a peak attainment. 85 If there were dinner 
guests who tarried too long, he might drowse until they departed, 
and then resume animated work at his typewriter. Some of his 
books, particularly A Short History of the United States, yielded 
substantial royalties, and good investments increased his in- 
come. 86 Among his closest professional friends were Dunning, 

83 Bassett to William G. Brown, February 15, 1907, Bassett Papers. For Brown's reply, see 
Brown to Bassett, February 25, 1907, William Garrott Brown Papers (Duke University 
library); and for the reaction of two North Carolinians to Bassett's resignation at Trinity 
College, see J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton to Bassett, June 18, 1906, Bassett Papers; Bassett to 
Henry G. Connor, June 11, 1906, Connor Papers. 

84 Bassett to Boyd, October 11, 1908, Bassett Papers. 

88 John S. Bassett, "Literary Record, October 4, 1917 — Aug. 1, 1922," Bassett Papers. 
86 Interviews with Mrs. Bassett, November 12-25, 1944. 

John Spencer Bassett as a Historian 317 

Dodd, Boyd, and Frederic Bancroft. Cordial relations with Ban- 
croft ended when Bassett refused to follow extremists in efforts 
to reform the American Historical Association; friendship with 
Dodd persisted despite critical reviews of some of Dodd's books ; 
correspondence with Dunning revealed that Bassett as well as the 
"Old Chief" possessed a keen sense of humor; epistolarian con- 
geniality with Boyd continued unbroken for more than thirty 

It is difficult to estimate Bassett' s place in American historio- 
graphy, for he did not concentrate upon a theme with sing|£- 
minded devotion, nor did he have opportunity as a graduate 
professor to train a body of students in historical methodology. 
His interests were so diversified that his productive work 
defies classification. The North Carolina monographs were 
the product of immaturity, however much they may have con- 
tributed to his own development as a historian. An abiding 
interest in southern history found expression in William Byrd 
and the Southern Plantation Overseer, but these and other 
studies of the South cannot justify listing him among the 
leading authorities in the field of southern history. He reached 
historical maturity in the Federalist System, which marked a 
transition from local to national history and brought recognition 
beyond the limits of the South. Recent and contemporary 
history — an interest dating from the 1890's — occupied much of 
his attention during the last decade of his career, but creditable 
productivity in this field yielded no permanent monument to his 
memory. Historiographical studies, especially the Middle Group 
of American Historians, will have more lasting value. As 
biographer of Andrew Jackson and as editor of his correspon- 
dence, Bassett attained authoritative stature. Despite lack of 
concentration, however, the total picture of published miscellanea 
is large and significant. These, together with his pioneering 
efforts in behalf of southern history and his contributions to the 
American Historical Association, make his career worthy of 
chronicling for posterity. 



By Roland C. McConnell 

As the repository of the non-current records of the federal 
government, the National Archives not only personifies the 
cumulative experience of America as a nation from the Revolu- 
tion to the present, but preserves the records of this experience 
in such a way as to make them readily available to the American 
people. Being a part of America, each individual state has con- 
tributed to this experience. Herein that of North Carolina will be 

In calling attention to records in the National Archives which 
have a bearing on the state of North Carolina, it is obvious that 
such a study can claim neither exclusiveness nor completeness 
in a definitive sense. That any selected record group contains 
entries for other states precludes the former; while the sheer 
bulk of records in the National Archives prevents any minute 
examination or detailed inventory. 1 Such a study, however, 
should give some idea as to the types of records in the National 
Archives reflecting the national history of North Carolina or 
conversely the history of the United States as related to North 
Carolina as well as a representation of what may be found in 
the National Archives for other states, especially those whose 
relationship with the federal government has been similar to 
that of North Carolina. 

As an aside, it should be pointed out that there is one exception 
to the availability of these records — restrictions. The use of 
certain records because of their nature is subjected to necessary 
restrictions by law or administrative regulations based on law. 
An attempt has been made to indicate this where necessary. It 
should be added, however, that these restrictions do not neces- 
sarily mean that the records cannot be used, but rather that as 

* The writer is indebted to staff members of the records offices of the National Archives for 
making available much of the material on which this article is based. 

1 According to the Tivelfth Annual Report of the Archivist of the United States, 19U5-19U6, 
the record holdings of the National Archives amounted to 732,473 cubic feet. These records are 
assigned to 236 record groups, each of which comprises as a rule the records of a single 
autonomous agency. These groups are assigned numbers approximately in the order in which 
the first transfer of records in each group was received. See pp. 18, 66-70. 


Records in the National Archives 319 

occasions warrant, restrictions sometimes prevent entirely the 
use of the records ; while at other times they prevent only the use 
of certain information in the records. From time to time 
restrictions are removed. It is advisable, therefore, that prospec- 
tive searchers make inquiry into current restrictions to which 
the records of their interest are subject. 

Although the records in the National Archives revealing the 
pre-federal experience of the original thirteen states are quite 
sparse, there are a few which shed some light on the participation 
of the thirteen colonies in the American Revolution. For North 
Carolina, there are at least two small collections in this period: 
the Bancroft correspondence on the Mecklenburg Declaration of 
Independence, and military papers pertaining to the Revolution. 

The first comprises copies and extracts of correspondence on 
the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence made in 1848 
by George Bancroft, Ambassador to Great Britain, and sent to 
the American Secretary of State, James Buchanan, for the 
archives of the Department of State. 2 Included are the resolu- 
tions passed at Charlotte, Mecklenburg County on May 31, 1775, 
which Bancroft copied from the South Carolina Gazette of June 
13, 1775, which had been forwarded to Lord Dartmouth, the 
British Secretary of State, by Sir James Wright, governor of 
Georgia; extracts of minutes of the meetings of the council of 
North Carolina held at Fort Johnston, North Carolina, June 25, 
1775, and on board the Cruizer in the Cape Fear River, July 18, 
1775; and a copy of a letter of Governor Martin of North 
Carolina to Lord Dartmouth, June 30, 1775. 

Of no little interest is the letter in which Governor Martin, in 
describing the general conditions in the colony, points out that 
his authority has been questioned, that he has sent his family to 
New York, and that his correspondence with General Gage has 
been intercepted. Martin then adds encouragingly that the 
sovereignty of His Majesty can be maintained if he is furnished 
10,000 stand of arms and six light brass field pieces. He is of this 
opinion inasmuch as he is led to believe he can depend upon the 
loyal attachment of the recent emigrants from the Highlands of 
Scotland and upon the improbability of Maryland and Virginia 

2 Record Group Number 59, General Records of the Department of State, Despatches from 
Great Britain, vol. 59, despatch 111. (In subsequent references the abbreviation RG will be 
used in place of Record Group.) 

320 The North Carolina Historical Review 

furnishing aid to North Carolina because of the potential threat 
occasioned by the large Negro population in each of these colonies. 

The second collection, composed of fragmentary records of the 
military phases of the American Revolution, consists in the main 
of muster rolls, pay rolls, clothing returns, and proceedings of 
boards of officers. Types of these records are the muster rolls of 
Captain Robert Porter's Company, October 30, 1777 ; the pay roll 
of Captain J. Sharped Company for the period June 26 to March 
11, 1778; the pay roll of levies of Caswell County taken into 
service December 1, 1778 ; a statement of clothing issued the line ; 
and proceedings of a board of officers of the North Carolina Line 
for commissioning officers. Within this group are two bound 
volumes, a company book of the settlement of money accounts of 
the North Carolina Line, 1777-1783 ; 3 and a volume containing 
the muster rolls of the First North Carolina Regiment, Captain 
John Kingsbury's company of artillery, and Captain Thomas 
Clarke's company of artillery. 4 Furnishing such information as 
periods of enlistments, dates of separations from service, pay due, 
in some cases casualties, and a record of events, along with the 
conventional name, rank, and organization of military personnel, 
these records are of value for an understanding of the early 
administration and operations of the army. Although the records 
of the military personnel for each conflict from the American 
Revolution through the Spanish- American War have been carded 
individually, the significance of the original source cannot be 
overemphasized. It should be noted, however, that the usage of 
the foregoing and similar military personnel records for other 
wars are subject to the restrictions imposed by the Archivist of 
the United States. 

Reflecting the Confederation and linking the Revolutionary 
and federal periods is a volume in the records of the Public Land 
Office in the National Archives entitled North Carolina Land. 
Divided into five parts, this volume among other things lists 
estimates of land granted during the period 1778-1791 by North 
Carolina within its western territory prior to the cession of 
this territory by the state to the United States government and 

3 RG 93, War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records, Account Book Number 
1S6V 2 . 

* RG 93, War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records, Account Book Number 
l**Vz; Vol. 6; N. C. Letters R-Z also Kingsbury's and Clarks Cos. of Arty. 

Records in the National Archives 321 

estimates of land for which grants were issued to the officers and 
soldiers of North Carolina's Continental Line or their assignees 
in pursuance to an act of the assembly. Information appears 
under such headings as the number of the grant, the name 
of the grantee, the number of acres granted, and the date and 
location of the grant. This volume was compiled by the Secretary 
of State of North Carolina in 1791 in response to a request of 
the Secretary of State of the United States for certain 
information concerning North Carolina's western territory. The 
information was necessary for the preparation of a report on the 
subject which President Washington had been asked to lay before 
Congress. 5 

Among the records in the National Archives concerning the 
adoption of the Constitution are the certificates of North 
Carolina's ratification of the Constitution, November 21, 1789, 
and of the Bill of Rights, including twelve articles, December 22, 
1789, as well as a printed copy of the Declaration of Rights and 
suggested amendments to the Constitution, August 1, 1788, 
which North Carolina submitted to Congress in September, 

One of the most vital provisions of the new Constitution was 
that which provided for the decennial enumeration of the 
population for the purposes of national representation and 
taxation. The orginal schedules for each census through 1870 are 
in the National Archives as well as those for population, 
agriculture, manufacturing, business, and religious bodies for 
certain decades of the twentieth century. Although the first two 
censuses name only the head of the family and list the number 
of the members of each household, as early as 1820 the returns 
begin to become more comprehensive and reveal that increasing 
amount of information which has characterized subsequent 
enumerations. 7 Not until 1850, however, were individual names 

B RG 49, Records of the General Land Office. 

6 RG 59, General Records of the Department of State. 

7 Besides naming the head of each household, the first and second censuses listed the num- 
ber of the members of the household by free white males 16 years and upwards, free white 
females, all other free persons, and slaves. The census for 1820 added the number of 
foreigners not naturalized, the number of persons engaged in agriculture, commerce, and 
manufacturing, and the number of free and slave colored persons by age and sex. The census 
of 1830 added the number of physical defectives, and that of 1840 expanded the occupational 
classifications and added the number in each family attending school by year, and the value 
of real and personal property. The census of 1850 supplied all the foregoing information by 
name of person and added the marital status of the free population. In 1850 a separate census 
was taken of slaves which gave the name of slave and slave owner as well as the age, sex, 
color, physical defects, and condition (fugitive, manumitted) of slaves. Similar information 
was continued in the censuses of 1860 and 1870 exclusive of slavery in the latter. 

322 The North Carolina Historical Review 

given for each classification. In that year a separate enumeration 
of slaves was taken. 

Of the earlier enumerations, particularly valuable is the census 
of manufacturing for 1820, one of the first special census. 8 The 
information of this census was collected by means of a schedule of 
fourteen questions which were distributed under such headings as 
raw material consumed, number of persons employed, machinery, 
expenditures, production, and remarks as to the trends of the 
business. A typical return for this census is that for Isaac 
Hathaway's manufacturing establishment in Jones County. This 
schedule states that the business, chair manufacturing, is capital- 
ized at $1,000, consumes annually about $500 worth of raw ma- 
terial (wood, iron, leather, and cloth), employs four men and 
two boys, and pays annually $400 in wages and $40 in contingent 
expenses, and that the products, riding chairs, etc., have an 
annual market value of $2,000. 

For certain counties there are summary statements for differ- 
ent types of manufacturing. For example, for Cumberland 
County there are a list of brandy cider manufactures showing 
quantities of production by gallons and barrels, a list of sawmill 
owners with number of saws and amounts of lumber sawed, and 
lists of shingle manufacturers and cotton ginners with corres- 
ponding information. 

In some instances, as in the case of New Hanover County, 
the marshal who filled in the schedule performed an additional 
service by preceding his list of manufactures with a description 
of the process used. This was true for the manufacturing of salt 
and bricks in this county. 

Now and then the general remarks comprise statements of no 
little interest. William Crokett, a leather manufacturer of 
Tarborough, observed that his business was declining and pointed 
out that the banks and the wretched policy of the bank directors 
were responsible. As striking as is the information from the 
census of manufacturing, 1820, it should be pointed out that the 
predominant occupational classification in the state at the time 
was farming. 

As in other coastal states, ocean-borne commerce played an 
important part in the economy of North Carolina. The earliest 

8 RG 29, Records of the Bureau of the Census. 

Records in the National Archives 323 

records in the National Archives pertaining to North Carolina's 
maritime activity are those which were called in by the federal 
government to aid in the adjudication of the French Spoliation 
Claims. Prominent among these are the customs records for the 
District of Edenton. Included are such marine documents as 
Account Books of Licenses Granted to Enrolled Vessels Carrying 
on the Coasting Trade, 1790-9 %; Account Book of Temporary 
Register Issued and Surrendered, 1793-95; Accounts of Perma- 
nent and Temporary Enrollment Issued and Surrendered, 1793- 
9U; Account Book of Endorsement of Change of Masters of Ves- 
sels, 17 90-9 U; and a Record Book of Inward Entries, 1798-1845. 
The records of documentation furnish descriptions of vessels 
and names of owners, while those concerning entry give detailed 
information on cargoes, duties, and consignees. 9 

Apart from the records pertaining to the French Spoliation 
Claims, there are in the National Archives marine documents 
issued at Edenton, Elizabeth City, New Bern, Plymouth, Wash- 
ington, and Wilmington for the period approximately 1815-1911. 
These records which are fragmentary include certificates of 
enrollment, register, and license. The type of information 
furnished may be seen in the Permanent Enrollment of the 
Black Eyed Susan. This document, dated March 20, 1818, states 
that the vessel is owned by Samuel Doty, a merchant of New 
River, that it was built at New River in Onslow County in 1818, 
that it has one deck and two masts, that it is 52 feet long, 14 feet 
wide, 4 feet and 3 inches deep and measures 27 28/95 tons, 
that it is a square stern schooner with a square tuck, and that it 
is without a gallery. 10 

In no small way responsible for the successful maritime 
operations of the period is the protective service afforded by the 
lighthouse system. Records in the National Archives of this 
service in North Carolina date from 1792 and include correspon- 
dence pertaining to the acquisition of real estate for lighthouse 
sites and to the construction, maintenance, and administration of 

9 RG 36, Records of the Bureau of Customs. For general consideration certificates of reg- 
ister are issued to vessels engaged in foreign trade, certificates of enrollment to vessels en- 
gaged in the coasting trade and the fisheries, and certificates of license to vessels with a net 
burden of not less than five nor more than twenty tons. Permanent documents are those 
issued at the home port or the port nearest that where the owner resides. Temporary docu- 
ments are issued at the port of entry of any other custom district. 

10 RG 41, Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, PE 7 Wilmington, 
N. C. March 20, 1818, Black Eyed Susan. 

324 The North Carolina Historical Review 

lighthouse establishments. Of particular interest for the period 
is the correspondence concerning stakage and the types and 
placing of buoys. 

Of prime concern at this time was oil (sperm) for the light- 
house lamps. A letter to James Read, Superintendent of the 
lighthouse at Wilmington, from Tenche Coxe, Commissioner of 
the Revenue, dated April 21, 1796, illustrates this. 11 Pointing 
out that 400 gallons of oil each have been sent to Wilmington 
from Boston, Rhode Island, and New Bedford, Coxe emphasizes 
the standing rule of the service to notify his office when the 
quantity of oil is reduced to a three month supply, advises the 
purchase locally of a cask or two if the oil from New England is 
delayed, and adds a final admonishment to "keep up the light." 
In a letter between the same officials dated October 20, 1797, 
advice is given that in the event of failure to procure oil locally at 
any terms to use candles plentifully for which the employment 
of an extra employee is permitted. 

In 1939 the Bureau of Lighthouses was abolished and its 
functions were transferred to the United States Coast Guard, 
which had been created in 1915 by the consolidation of the 
Revenue Cutter Service, 1789-1915, and the Life-Saving Service, 
1870-1915. Among the records of this new service in the Na- 
tional Archives which pertain to North Carolina are log books, 
station journals, and correspondence. 12 

Aspects of the beginnings of North Carolina under the 
federal government are further revealed in the early records of 
the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of 
North Carolina, 1791-1913, and the records of the Post Office 
Department, about 1792-1938. The records of the former in 
the National Archives comprise dockets, minute books, calendars, 
and correspondence. These records are fragmentary. Among the 
jurists who presided over the sessions of this court during the 
foundation period were James Iredell, Bushrod Washington, and 
John Marshall. 13 

The records in the National Archives of the Post Office Depart- 
ment's operations in North Carolina date from 1790. They 

11 RG 26, Records of the United States Coast Guard, Bureau of Lighthouses, Lighthouse 
Letters, vol. 1. 

12 RG 26, Records of the United States Coast Guard. 

18 RG 21, Records of the District Courts of the United States. 

Records in the National Archives 325 

include account books which show amounts paid contractors for 
the transportation of the mail, routes, in some instances modes 
of transportation, and lists of post offices with localities, names 
of postmasters, and dates of first returns. In the latter named 
records, the development of early settlements can be traced. For 
example, William Roles' store with its post office in Wake County 
became Rolesville between 1832 and 1843. 14 

In part the rise of American nationalism is attributed to the 
War of 1812. Typical of the records in the National Archives 
concerning the participation of North Carolina in this war are 
the muster rolls and pay rolls 15 of the Hyde County Regiment, 
North Carolina Militia, commanded by lieutenant Colonel 
William Watson; of the General Field and Staff Officers of the 
Detached Militia of North Carolina, July and August, 1813 ; and 
of members who attended a court martial in Salisbury pursuant 
to a General Order of December 1, 1814. 

From the presence in the National Archives of monthly post 
returns for Fort Johnston, North Carolina, from February, 1818, 
on, it is evident that the necessity of maintaining a regular 
military establishment in the state was early recognized. As 
indicated above, the use of these records as well as those for the 
War of 1812 is restricted. 

During the second quarter of the nineteenth century North 
Carolina, like many other states, was affected by such matters 
as internal improvements, the National Bank, the tariff, the 
Missouri Compromise, relations with the Republic of Texas, the 
War with Mexico, and the Indians. For each of these there are 
records in the National Archives pertaining to North Carolina. 

Interest in internal improvements is seen in petitions, reports, 
plans and charts, and correspondence on the subject. The 
memorial of the inhabitants of Washington, N. C, January 27, 
1836, to Congress asking for an appropriation to remove an 
obstruction to navigation at the mouth of the "Pantico" River, 
and another from the citizens of Wilmington, May 12, 1836, 
requesting another appropriation for the improvement of 
navigation of the Cape Fear River are samples of petitions on 
internal improvements. In some petitions such as the one from 

• « RG 28, Records of the Post Office Department, Vol. 8, DC, NC, SC, Va, Ga, Fla. 1832-43, 
p. 200. 

16 RG 94, Records of The Adjutant General's Office. 

326 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Washington considerable statistical detail is presented to show 
the economy which would result from granting the appropriation. 

One of the most important canals in North Carolina is the 
Dismal Swamp Canal which connects Chesapeake Bay with 
Albemarle Sound. The canal was begun as early as 1793, jointly 
by Virginia and North Carolina, and the federal government, 
preparatory to purchasing 600 shares in the Dismal Swamp Canal 
Company in 1826, ordered a survey by the Office of the Chief of 
Engineers. 16 The records of this survey including pertinent cor- 
respondence are in the National Archives. Included are a Plan 
and Profile of the Dismal Swamp Canal, 1826, Plan of Sections of 
the Dismal Swamp Canal, 1826, and a Table of the Work to be 
Executed on the Dismal Swamp Canal. 17 

Among the petitions, memorials, and resolutions in the National 
Archives are a number which concern problems of the day which 
North Carolina citizens caused to be presented to either one of 
the houses of Congress. Typical of those referred to the Senate 
are a resolution of the senate of North Carolina against the in- 
crease of duties on imports, January 11, 1828; resolutions for the 
restoration of the Bank of the United States from citizens of 
Salisbury, January 23, 1834, Burke County, February 11, 1834, 
and Plymouth, March 19, 1834; resolutions against the 
restoration of the bank from the citizens of Tarborough and 
vicinity, April 7, 1834, Wake County, May 20, 1834, and a 
regiment of militia of Edgecombe County, April 28, 1834 ; and a 
memorial from the citizens of Perquimans and Chowan counties 
for the application of the Missouri Compromise to the Territory 
of Nebraska, March 30, 1854. 1{ * 

The records in the National Archives pertaining to the 
Cherokee Indians of North Carolina concern such matters as 
removals, treaties, legal rights, war, and economic and social 
developments. Included are census rolls such as the Henderson 
Roll, 1835, the Swetland Roll, 1868-1869, the Hester Roll, 1884, 
and the Churchill Roll, 1908; Valuation of North Carolina 
Cherokee Property, 1838, Record of Proceedings of the First 
Board of Commissioners of the Cherokee Removal Treaty, 1835, 

19 See Alexander C. Brown, "The Dismal Swamp Canal," part 1, The American Neptune, 
V (1945), 297 ff. 

17 RG 77, Records of Office of the Chief of Engineers. See Internal Improvement Series, 
25222 of Maps and Charts. 

18 RG 46, Records of the United States Senate. Dates of referral are used. 

Records in the National Archives 327 

and the Original Register of Payments, 1830-1839; and the 
muster rolls of the Third Regiment, North Carolina Militia, 
Cherokee War, 1838, Colonel John Gray Bynum commanding'. 19 
For comprehensiveness, the census rolls are significant. For 
example, that of 1835 contains information under such headings 
as name, age, sex, relationship to head of family, residence, 
slaves, occupation, farm production, and language. For the latter 
part of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the 
twentieth century, the records of the North Carolina Cherokees 
in the National Archives contain status reports and correspond- 
ence on these Indians on their reservation in the state. 

The part played by North Carolina in the War with Mexico 
is shown in the Regimental Descriptive and Letter Books, 1st 
N. C. Volunteers, Mexico War, 4 volumes, which are in the 
National Archives. 20 Apart from containing the descriptive rolls 
of Companies A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and K, these records 
include separate lists of commissioned and non-commissioned 
officers, registers of death in Companies A, B, and C, registers 

of deserters and discharged men, proceedings of courts-martial, 
general and special orders, and other pertinent correspondence. 

Besides the regular information, the descriptive rolls list the 
type of occupation in which the volunteers engaged in civilian 
life as well as the place of birth. The use of these military records 
as well as that for the Cherokee War mentioned above are 

It was in the second quarter of the nineteenth century that the 
Charlotte Branch of the United States Mint was started. 
Established in 1835, this mint operated well into the Civil War 
when it was closed. After the war through 1913, it became an 
office of assay. Besides the general correspondence for the period 
1835-1913, and daily statements of receipts and expenditures for 
the period 1868-1913, there are a number of other records which 
shed light on the financial history of the time. Among these are 
a Register of Deposits of Gold Bouillon Received from Depositors 
and Coin Paid at the Treasurer of the Mint, 1837-61; Ledger of 
Bouillon Deposits, 1837-61, 1868-97; Record of Melting and Re- 
fining Deposits, 1837-H, 18U6-61; Notations on Gold Production 

19 RG 75, Records of the Office of Indian Affairs. For the muster rolls of the Cherokee War 
see RG 94, Records of The Adjutant General's Office. 

20 RG 94, Records of The Adjutant General's Office. 

328 The North Carolina Historical Review 

in North Carolina, 1883; Records of Losses in Melting Gold 
Bouillon Deposited, 1908-13; and George B. Hanna's Private 
Record of Assays, Chemical Examinations, Etc. 21 

The participation of North Carolina in the Civil War has been 
partially recorded in the voluminous compilations of the official 
records of both the Union and Confederate armies and navies. 
The sources of these published records are in the National 
Archives, but there are many records which because of their 
nature were not included in these works. Samplings in this latter 
category are service records of the military personnel of the 
Confederate state of North Carolina; regimental descriptive 
books of the first and second regiments of North Carolina 
Infantry and the third regiment of North Carolina Mounted 
Infantry, and order books, clothing books, and morning reports 
of the companies of these regiments which served on the Union 
side in the Civil War; 22 lists of Union and Confederate Soldiers 
interred in National and Post cemeteries in North Carolina; 23 
accounts and related correspondence of the Confederate collectors 
of customs for the districts of Beaufort, Camden, Edenton, 
Plymouth, and Wilmington; 24 registers of persons in North 
Carolina subscribing to the Confederate loans; copies of letters 
and telegrams sent and received by Zebulon B. Vance, governor 
of North Carolina, 4 volumes; 25 reports of Ora O'Kelsea, As- 
sistant Special Agent of the Treasury Department for the Sixth 
Special Agency, on his disposition of captured and abandoned 
property, Wilmington; 26 and a list of contraband hired in and 
around New Bern by Captain William Cutting, QM, USA. 27 

Some of these records are most revealing. For example, the 
customs records include an Abstract of Duties on Goods, Wares, 
and Merchandise Imported in Confederate State Vessels into 
the District of Wilmington during the Month of May, 1863, and 
an Abstract of Foreign Vessels Cleared from the District of 
Wilmington for Foreign Countries during the Quarter Ending 
30th June, 1863, which list thirty-six vessels flying the British 
flag. Governor Vance is seen through his correspondence to 

21 RG 56, General Records of the Department of the Treasury. 

22 RG 94, Records of The Adjutant General's Office. 

23 RG 92, Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General. 

24 RG 56, General Records of the Department of the Treasury. 

25 RG 109, War Department Collection of Confederate Records. 

26 RG 56, General Records of the Department of the Treasury. 
37 RG 92, Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General. 

Records in the National Archives 329 

wrestle with such problems as those of supplies, subsistence, 
desertion, civilian and military disaffection, and the use of free 
and slave labor. The Report of Persons and Articles Hired and 
Employed by Captain William Cutting at New Bern during April, 
1862, lists about 641 ex-slaves as contraband of whom some 600 
men were engaged in the construction of Fort Totten and other 
military installations, and 39 women were employed as cooks, 
nurses, matrons, and laundresses in the hospital at New Bern. 28 

Among the materials in the National Archives relating to the 
Reconstruction Period in North Carolina are the records of the 
Second Military District, 1867-1868 ; 29 records of the Bureau of 
Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872 30 cer- 
tificates of the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, De- 
cember 3, 1865, of the rejection of the Fourteenth Amendment, 
December 14, 1866, and of its subsequent ratification by the two 
houses of the North Carolina legislature on July 1 and 2, 1868, 
respectively, and of the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, 
March 5, 1869 ; 31 and claims, including those filed before the 
Southern Claims Commission, 1871-1880, 32 against the federal 
government for losses sustained and services rendered by in- 
dividuals of the state professing loyalty during the war to the 
federal government, 1861-1889. 33 

Registers of elections return for local offices in North Carolina, 
lists of persons recommended to the Provost Marshal General, 
to fill public offices, and copies of general and special orders issued 
for the administration of the district are types of records com- 
prising those of the Second Military District. Reports, vouchers, 
and correspondence concerning the operations of schools of the 
Freedmen's Bureau in such centers as Raleigh, New Bern, Golds- 
boro, Greensboro, Halifax, Lumberton, Murfreesboro, and Con- 
cord, reports of Freedmen's camps, labor contracts, receipts for 
rations, inspection of election reports, and reports of arrest and 
outrages are representative of the records of the Bureau of Refu- 
gees, Freedmen, and Abandoned lands. 

28 RG 92, Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General; Reports of Persons and 
Articles Hired and Employed, number 213, 1862. Vols. 2, 3, and 4. 

29 RG 109, War Department Collection of Confederate Records. 

30 RG 105, Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. 

31 RG 11, General Records of the United States Government. 

82 RG 66, General Records of the Department of the Treasury. 
88 RG 94, Records of The Adjutant General's Office. 

• » • • ' . » » • 

330 The North Carolina Historical Review 

With the passing of the Civil War and Reconstruction periods, 
the federal government was confronted with a number of press- 
ing economic and social problems whose solutions it attempted 
through the establishment of such new departments, commissions, 
and services as the Department of Agriculture, the Interstate 
Commerce Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Public 
Health Service, and the Office of Education. Some of the functions 
of these new agencies had been carried on by some predecessor 
agent in one of the originally established departments, but so 
complex and far reaching had certain problems become that the 
need for these agencies was imperative. Each of these agencies 
has records in the National Archives which pertain to North 

Prominent in this connection is the Department of Agriculture. 
The general records of this department in the National Archives 
for the state contain entries for the period 1889-1939 under 
such headings as tobacco, cotton, bee, and potato culture, and hog 
cholera, drainage, boll weevil, cotton picking machine, fairs, 
grain standards, free range of cattle, meat inspection service, 
changes in the methods of reporting cotton, farmers' institute, 
rural credits, federal aid to highways, Negro farmer congresses, 
freight rates for fertilizers, use of soybeans and sweet potatoes 
as army rations, tick eradication, the cultivation of Japanese 
cherry trees and the ginger root seed from Japan and China, and 
other kindred matters. 34 Not a few of the records prior to 1920 
are letters and clippings from Clarence Poe, president and editor 
of the Progressive Farmer, clippings from such agricultural 
newspapers as the Fruit and Truckers Journal of Wilmington, 
The Cooperators of Wilson, and the Mutual Farmers of Briscoe, 
and correspondence from numerous associations such as the 
Cotton Growers Association, the Association of Cooperative 
Truck Growers, the Association of Beekeepers, and the Associa- 
tion of Cotton Seed Crushers. 

Besides the general file, the records of the various bureaus of 
the Department of Agriculture contain material dealing with spe- 
cific agricultural problems of the state. Representative of these 
are the records of the Forest Service, 1889-1939, and the Ex- 
tension Service, 1889-1939. Included in the former are statistical 

34 RG 16, General Records of the Department of Agriculture. 

Records in the National Archives 331 

and narrative reports of estimates of remaining saw timber in 
North Carolina by soft and hard woods, timber surveys of 
cutover areas in North Carolina, marketing reports of forest 
products including naval stores, reports of production and related 
industries, and papers relative to a special study of the North 
Carolina forest tax which was conducted by the Forest Service. 35 

The records of the Extension Service constitute a wealth of 
information on agricultural conditions in the state in the 
stereotype form of monthly, quarterly, and annual reports of the 
state, district, and county extension agents. Narrative and 
statistical data on such varied items as kinds of livestock, crop 
acreage, fertilizers, timber, marketing, pastures, home dairying, 
poultry, cooperative shipments, and canning are found in these 
reports. 36 

Among other bureaus and agencies of the Department of Ag- 
riculture whose records in the National Archives pertain partly 
to North Carolina are the Office of Experiment Stations, 1888- 
1937, which includes the work of the experiment stations under 
the direction of the land grant colleges; 37 the Bureau of Animal 
Husbandry, 1894-1933, which includes correspondence concern- 
ing the protection and development of livestock; 38 and the 
Bureau of Plant Industry, 1881-1940, whose correspondence has 
to do largely with the procurement, development, and distribu- 
tion of new and superior strains of plants and seeds. 39 

The Interstate Commerce Commission has for its duties the 
regulation of service, safety requirements, rates, equipment, and 
financial structures of common carriers engaged in interstate 
commerce. The records of this commission in the National 
Archives consist of three series each of which contain material 
concerning North Carolina. A first file, the regular one, pertains 
to discrimnatory practices and rates, 1887-1919; a second file 
concerns investigations and suspensions of carrier tariffs, 1910- 
1925; and a third file deals with the financial structure and 
operations of railroads, 1920. Information bearing on most 
phases of railroad transportation and commodity problems of 
the state can be found in these records. 40 

85 RG 95, Records of the Forest Service. 

36 RG 33, Records of the Extension Service. 

37 RG 164, Records of the Office of Experiment Stations. 

38 RG 17, Records of the Bureau of Animal Husbandry. 

88 RG 54, Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils, and Agricultural Engineering. 
40 RG 134, Records of the Interstate Commerce Commission. 

332 The North Carolina Historical Review 

In 1914 the Federal Trade Commission was created to compile 
data on industry as a basis for remedial legislation to prohibit 
false advertising of food and drugs, to prevent restraint of trade 
in interstate commerce, and to promote the adoption of fair trade 
practices. For North Carolina the records of this organiza- 
tion in the National Archives include investigations, statistics, 
docket cases, and reports pertaining to agricultural incomes, 
chain stores, power and gas, house furnishings, lumber, and 
security sales — to cite only a few. 41 Especially full are the investi- 
gations of the tobacco industry in North Carolina. The records 
of the Federal Trade Commission in the National Archives are 
restricted and can be used only with the permission of the 

The records in the National Archives of at least three services, 
the Public Health Service, the National Park Service, and the 
Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Office of Education, pertain 
to social and cultural conditions in North Carolina. In the first, 
the records show the aid given by the federal government in the 
establishment of the State Department of Health and the 
development of its program. This aid took the form of aiding in 
drafting legislation, making studies, enforcing quarantine laws, 
and the suppression and combatting of venereal diseases. 42 The 
central file, 1897-1923, embraces correspondence and reports 
between federal and state authorities on such subjects as investi- 
gations of the State Health Department personnel, sanitary 
conditions in the state, controversies over quarantine regulations, 
conferences between state and federal Public Health Service 
officials, and appropriations. The Public Health Service created a 
Division of Venereal Diseases in 1918 to cooperate with state 
boards or departments, and a General Inspection Service in 1919 
to systematize inspections of all stations and activities of the 
Public Health Service. The records of each of these contain 
communications relative to North Carolina. 

In referring to health, it is apropos to point out that the 
medical history of military posts in the National Archives, dating 
from 1879, are of importance for showing the conditions which 
affect the health of the troops at posts and giving recommenda- 

41 RG 122, Records of the Federal Trade Commission. 

42 RG 90, Records of the Public Health Service. 

Records in the National Archives 333 

tions for improvement. Information is listed under such headings 
as bathing facilities, drainage, geology, minerals, and botany of 
posts and vicinity, schools, climatic conditions, and sanitation. 
Such data, for example, is furnished for the Post Hospital, for 
Johnston, North Carolina, and vicinity. 43 

The National Park Service records in the National Archives 
contain materials on the Guilford Courthouse National Military 
Park and the Moore's Creek National Military Park. Within these 
are correspondence concerning the acquisition of land for park 
sites, the general administration of the parks, the erection of 
monuments, the designs and sculpturing of monuments and 
statues; easment papers; inspection reports; and historical 
sketches. 44 Reports on the selection of an inscription for the 
equestrian statue of General Greene in the Guilford Courthouse 
National Military Park, 1914, and correspondence of Governor 
Charles B. Ay cock with Secretary of War Elihu Root concerning 
the erection of monuments to Generals Nash and Davidson in the 
same park pursuant to an Act of Congress, January 30, 1903, 
providing monuments to heroes of the American Revolution, are 
illustrative of these records for North Carolina. Suggestions and 
approval of the Commission of Fine Arts on statues, monuments, 
and pertinent matters are also found among the records of the 
National Park Service relating to North Carolina. 

The cooperation of North Carolina with the federal govern- 
ment in the control and conservation of fish, game, birds, and 
other forms of wildlife is disclosed in the reports, logbooks, 
station histories, and correspondence in the National Archives of 
the Fish and Wildlife Service and predecessor agents, 1868-1941. 
The station history of the Beaufort Fish Hatchery, 1899-1920, 
is an example of the records within this group. 45 

Scattered reports and correspondence of the Office of Education 
for North Carolina consist of records concerning vocational 
education, public schools, Negro schools, higher education, land 
grant colleges, and Federal aid to education for the period 1870- 
1908. 46 

43 RG 94, Records of The Adjutant General's Office, Medical History of Posts, 1880, pp. 

44 RG 79, Records of the National Parks Service. 

45 RG 22, Records of the Fish and Wildlife Service. 

46 RG 12, Records of the Office of Education. 

334 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Between 1911 and 1919 three amendments, the Sixteenth, the 
Seventeenth, and the Eighteenth, were added to the Constitution 
of the United States. In the National Archives there are certifi- 
cates of ratification by North Carolina of each of these, as well as 
one for the Twentieth Amendment. 47 The effects of both the 
Sixteenth and Nineteenth Amendments on the state are reflected 
by records in the National Archives. For the former there are 
income tax returns on forms 1040 and 1040A for 1930, while for 
the latter there are fragments of records on the enforcement of 
the Prohibition Amendment. 48 There are also in the National 
Archives estate tax returns for the state for the period 1919- 
1925. 49 The records of tax returns, however, are restricted in use. 
Within twenty years the American nation experienced two 
major wars, the Spanish-American War, 1898-1899, and the First 
World War, 1917-1918. For each of these, there are records in 
the National Archives concerning North Carolina. For the first 
there are the conventional muster rolls, pay rolls, regimental 
descriptive books, and related records for the military personnel 
and military organizations from the state. 50 

For the First World War, however, what approached a total 
mobilization occurred and the records in the National Archives 
reflect not only military but also economic mobilization. The 
records of the Selective Service System, 1917-1919, and those of 
the Office of the Quartermaster General furnish illustrations 
for the military aspects. Among the former are correspondence 
between the state draft officials and national officials, reports in 
the form of questionnaires on the actual working of the draft, 
and docket books. 51 These records are restricted. 

The records of the Office of the Quartermaster General include 
such materials as the completion reports of the Construction 
Quartermaster of the United States Army General Hospital 
Number 19, Azalea, North Carolina, 1918-1919. These reports 
contain not only administrative correspondence and communica- 
tions pertaining to labor problems, sanitation, and health 
conditions, but also such illustrative materials as maps, charts, 
and diagrams. 52 In passing it should be noted that there are 

47 RG 11, General Records of the United States Government. 

48 RG 58, Records of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. 
48 RG 59, Records of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. 
00 RG 94, Records of The Adjutant General's Office. 

61 RG 163, Records of the Selective Service System. 

62 RG 92, Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General. 

Records in the National Archives 335 

records in the National Archives pertaining to North Carolina of 
the National Guard Bureau 53 and the Reservve Officers Training 
Corps 54 and their predecessor agents whose activities were 
emphasized during the First World War. These records are like- 
wise restricted. 

Of the records in the National Archives on North Carolina of 
a non-military nature which pertain to the First World War 
those of the War Industries Board, 1917-1919, the United States 
Shipping Board and Emergency Fleet Corporation, 1916-1936, 
and the War Minerals Relief Commission, 1919-1941, which 
though created after the war reflect the war effort, are repre- 

The War Industries Board had as its responsibility the con- 
servation and conversion of the industrial resources of the 
nation in support of the war effort, advising the purchasing 
agencies of the government, and determining priorities of pro- 
duction and delivery. Records revealing these functions in North 
Carolina are: industrial surveys of centers of significance 
industrially, reports on power plants, correspondence concerning 
priorities on critical materials, and lists of industries with 
location and type of commodity produced. Information furnished 
by these records is quite detailed. For example, in the industrial 
surveys entries are made under such headings as public utilities, 
housing, labor, and leading industries. 55 Frequently these 
surveys contain appendixes in which are found such items as a 
table of employment by sex and color in different plants. 

The United States Shipping Board, created to develop a naval 
and auxiliary merchant marine, through its Emergency Fleet 
Corporation engaged in a great ship-construction and operation 
program in prosecution of the First World War. North Carolina 
participated in this effort through the North Carolina Shipbuild- 
ing Company at Morehead City which built wooden vessels, the 
Carolina Shipbuilding Company at Wilmington which constructed 
steel vessels, and the Liberty Shipbuilding Company at Wilming- 
ton which built concrete vessels. The first named company was 
independent. The federal government had a 100-per-cent interest 

63 RG 168, Records of the National Guard Bureau. 
04 RG 94, Records of The Adjutant General's Office. 
BB RG 61, Records of the War Industries Board. 

336 The North Carolina Historical Review 

in the Carolina Shipbuilding Company at Wilmington and a 67- 
per-cent interest in the Liberty Shipbuilding Company. 

For the government plants, the contracts called for the con- 
struction of shipbuildng yards as well as vessels. The records for 
these two companies in the National Archives include weekly 
progress reports of the resident representative which contain 
information on plant and ship construction, authorized overtime, 
and labor ; blueprints ; specifications ; requisitions for supplies and 
equipment; and orders, vouchers, contracts, and related cor- 

The records of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company 
contain blueprints and plans of wooden cargo vessels, barges for 
embarkation service, and wood hulls; plans for the electric 
wiring of wooden vessels; reports on floating drydocks and 
marine railways, labor conditions and work progress ; inspection 
and testing reports; vouchers; specifications; outfit and equip- 
ment schedules; and related correspondence. 56 

North Carolina was one of the states in which such highly 
critical materials as manganese, chrome, pyrites, and tungsten 
were produced and furnished for the use of the government in 
the First World War. In many cases persons producing these 
materials suffered a loss by the sudden cessation of hostilities and 
were permitted to present claims to the federal government for 
their alleged losses. The War Minerals Relief Commission was 
set up to advise the Secretary of the Interior in the handling of 
these claims and in so doing it assembled a wealth of information 
on the effort of North Carolina to furnish critical minerals for 
the war. 

The records of this commission in the National Archives for 
the state is in the form of a docket file of claims which contains 
information on the ownership, location, production, employment, 
pay rolls, and operations of such mines as the Cherokee Mines 
near Murphy, Cherokee County, Vineyard Mountain Mine, Clay 
County, Old Southern Mine, Rowan County, and Tar Heel Mine, 
Surry County, for manganese; the Allen Farm Property, Cabar- 
rus County, and the Reimer Property, Rowan County, for 
pyrites ; and the Aunt Ann and Uncle Berry Mines, Jackson and 

60 RG 32, Records of the United States Shipping Board. 

Records in the National Archives 337 

Buncombe counties, and the Bay Chrome Mine, Yancey County, 
for chrome. 57 

For the depression that began in 1929, an aftermath of the 
First World War, there are records in the National Archives for 
each of the various agencies created by the federal government 
for the alleviation of the distress and widespread suffering of the 
time. Among these are the records of the Civilian Conservation 
Corps and its predecessor agents, 1933-1943 ; the records of the 
National Recovery Administration, 1933-1937 ; and the records of 
the Work Projects Administration and predecessor agencies, 
1933-1944. Each of these contain records pertaining to North 

The records of the Civilian Conservation Corps comprise 
correspondence and reports on such matters as selection of en- 
rollees, agreements between state and national organizations, 
personnel, procedure, operations, and inspections. 58 Replete with 
information are the inspection reports which contain entries 
under such headings as name, number and location of camp, race 
and number of enrollees, type of project, camp sanitation, 
medical service, safety program, educational and religious pro- 
grams, and menus. Camps for which such reports exist include 
such random examples as Swanquarter, Pisgah Forest, Hender- 
sonville, Hot Springs, and Mortimer. 

The records of the National Recovery Administration for 
North Carolina in the National Archives consist of code drafts, 
hearings, histories, reports, questionnaires, complaints of code 
violations, office memoranda, and pertinent correspondence. 59 
These records reflect such phases of the state's economic and 
social life as trade associations, cooperatives, production costs, 
living condition of workers, productive capacity, marketing 
structures, transportation facilities, volume and value of ship- 
ments, labor unions, handicapped workers and sheltered work- 
shops, home work, wages, and hour and piece work. Of special 
interest is that part of the correspondence file which deals with 
conditions in the following: cleaning and dyeing industry, 
crushed stone, sand, gravel and clay industry, fishing industry, 
food and grocery distribution, general contractors, graphic arts 

87 RG 194, Records of the War Minerals Relief Commission. 

68 RG 35, Records of the Civilian Conservation Corps. 

69 RG 9, Records of the National Recovery Administration. 

338 The North Carolina Historical Review 

industry, hotel industry, ice industry, petroleum industries, 
retail tobacco trade, and trucking industry. Included within the 
records of the National Recovery Administration is a two volume 
manuscript study, Report on the Tobacco Worker, A Study of 
Tobacco Factory Workers and Their Families (1935, pp. 661) , by 
Charles S. Johnson, which details minutely the living and 
working conditions of the tobacco workers and their families for 
such centers as Winston-Salem, Durham, and Reidsville. 60 

The records of the Work Projects Administration in the 
National Archives pertaining to North Carolina include in the 
main, correspondence on the administration of the program there 
and project reports. For local activities the project reports are of 
value. Among these are reports on the adult education program, 
child protection program, clothing program, over-all-training 
program, feeding program, federal art project, federal theatre 
project, library project, and historical records survey. 61 

The information furnished by these reports is quite revealing. 
One on the feeding program contains data on school lunches, 
gardening, canning, commodity distribution, and housekeeping 
aid, as well as statistics on canning production for the years 1939- 
1942 inclusive, and a tabular statement of schools by counties 
and races which had WPA lunch rooms, 1941-1943. The report on 
the federal art project from December, 1936, to December, 1937, 
furnishes information concerning exhibits of outstanding paint- 
ings before audiences of both races and the development of art 
appreciation. A report of the library project includes entries 
under such headings as bookbinding, bookmobiles, school 
libraries, and public libraries. 

Of the projects which were undertaken in the state that of 
the Historical Records Survey ranks high. This project consisted 
of the preparation of inventories of municipal, county, and state 
archives, a guide to manuscript collections in the state, an 
inventory of church records, a card index of interments in North 
Carolina cemeteries prior to the establishment of a vital 
statistics bureau in the state, and an imprints inventory of 
certain classes of books, pamphlets, newspapers, and broadsides 
published in the state. 62 Manuals of procedure for the different 

60 RG 9, Records of the National Recovery Administration. 

61 RG 69, Records of the Work Projects Administration. 

62 RG 69, Records of the Work Projects Administration. 

Records in the National Archives 339 

phases of this project as well as a list of publications which were 
brought out under the auspices of the Work Projects Administra- 
tion are included within this record group. Within the records of 
this project are minutes of the North Carolina Committee on the 
Conservation of Cultural Resources, January 6, 1942, which are 
of no little interest because of the consideration given to the 
problems of preservation and evacuation of records during war 

Records in the National Archives pertaining to North Carolina 
of other New Deal Agencies include those of the National 
Resources Planning Board, 1933-1943, which contain correspon- 
dence, reports, and studies on such subjects as water resources, 
land usage, occupational industrial, and population trends; 63 the 
National Youth Administration, 1935-1943, which embody cor- 
respondence, work plans, application for work projects, and 
photographs; 64 the Agricultural Adjustment Agency, 1933-1943, 
consisting of correspondence and reports on parity payments to 
farmers, conservation programs, and price stabilization; 65 the 
Surplus Marketing Administration and predecessor agencies, 
1933-1943, comprising correspondence and reports pertaining to 
the diversion of surplus commodities from the open market to 
destitute families through state relief agencies and to the Food 
Stamp Plan; 66 and the Farm Security Administration, 1933-1940, 
which include correspondence and reports on rehabilitating low- 
income farm families, financing the purchase of farms by tenants 
and laborers, and establishing rural homestead projects for the 
demonstration of improved farm practices. 67 

With the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States entered her 
Second World War and immediately began a total mobilization. 
The records of some of the numerous agencies which were 
created for this, especially those which have since been 
liquidated, are already in the National Archives. For the most 
part, however, the accession by the National Archives of the 
records of the Second World War and the post war period is still 
in process. 68 

63 RG 187, Records of the National Resources Planning Board. 

64 RG 119, Records of the National Youth Administration. 

65 RG 145, Records of the Agricultural Adjustment Agency. 
68 RG 124, Records of the Surplus Marketing Administration. 

67 RG 96, Records of the Farm Security Administration. 

68 This was true at the time this article was completed, early in 1947. Editor's note. 

340 The North Carolina Historical Review 

This paper is merely suggestive and in no wise exhausts the 
mountain of records in the National Archives pertaining to North 
Carolina. It does indicate, however, that the records which con- 
cern any of the varied aspects of the state are of such richness 
in quality and quantity that they can hardly be neglected. 
Indeed so vast in amount and diversified in interest are these 
records that it is not too much to say that there are materials in 
the National Archives pertaining to North Carolina — and any 
other state, for that matter — on practically every conceivable 
subject arising under federal-state relationship. 


By John Shepard, Jr. 

Throughout its history, the South has been a stronghold of 
the Christian religion. Today the section is widely known as 
the "Bible belt." In the years before the Civil War, religion 
entered into every phase of southern life. Church attendance 
was regarded as a badge of respectability. The presence of the 
clergy was sought for both private and public functions. The 
minister was preferred to the magistrate in the marriage cere- 
mony, and community gatherings were opened always with 
prayer. Most of the academies and colleges had daily chapel 
services which both faculty and students were required to attend. 
There was sometimes a wide divergence between the preacher's 
message and the laity's conduct, but religious sanction was de- 
manded by the righteous, approved by the lukewarm, and tole- 
rated by the wicked. All felt better to have had the blessing 
of the church. 

That the churches in the South were not reluctant to enter 
the arena of political issues is indicated by the strong position 
taken by some religious leaders in defense of the institution of 
slavery. The high esteem in which the ministry was held was 
reflected in the sensitiveness of southern people to the attacks of 
abolitionists on the integrity of their preachers. An opening 
breach which eventuated in the chasm of disunion was the sepa- 
ration of the leading denominations, North and South, on the 
slavery issue during the early eighteen-forties. 

At the outbreak of the war, religion and patriotism were al- 
most synonymous in the South. The people not only thought 
they were right in resisting the invasion of their soil and the 
coercion of sovereign states by the federal government, but they 
went to battle or sent their sons in full reliance upon "the Lord 
of Hosts." An early message by President Jefferson Davis to 
the people of the Confederacy reflected this spirit in its opening 
sentence : 


342 The North Carolina Historical Review 

We feel that our cause is just and holy; we profess solemnly in the 
face of all mankind that we desire peace at any price, save of honor 
and independence. . . .* 

An address to Christians throughout the world, signed by one 
hundred members of the various church bodies in the South, 
insisted that the war was forced on the Confederacy. 2 South- 
erners as a whole had no compunction of conscience in joining 
the army. In fact, they had the approbation of their conscience 
in fighting for their homes and what they deemed their rights. 
They were willing for the contest to be decided on its merits. 
In what they considered such a just and righteous cause, even 
representatives of the church could enter in large numbers. 

It was to be expected that southern soldiers would depart for 
war with ecclesiastical blessings. Talks and prayers by the 
local ministers were a regular part of the going-away ceremonies 
during the early months of the conflict. In the knapsacks of 
many, if not most, of the volunteers, Bibles were tucked away, 
donated by mothers or sweethearts. Every new regiment that 
went into the army had some token of the deep concern felt by 
the home folks for its religious welfare. When the Seventh 
South Carolina Regiment was about to leave, the colored mem- 
bers of the Methodist Church in Aiken presented the chaplain 
with a magnificent Bible for the regiment's use. 3 

In spite of their military exemption, many of the Southern 
preachers entered the army as soldiers. Rev. D. M. Atkinson, 
president of Hampden-Sydney College, organized a regiment on 
his campus which included a number of students from the Union 
Theological Seminary in nearby Richmond. In one Georgia 
regiment there were fourteen ministers in combat service. 4 The 
famous Rockbridge Artillery unit, organized in Lexington, Vir- 
ginia, boasted nineteen theological students and was for a time 
commanded by the Rev. William Pendleton, a prominent Episco- 
palian minister who subsequently became Chief of Artillery for 
the entire Army of Northern Virginia. 5 

1 Quoted in W. W. Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival Which Prevailed in the 
Southern Armies, p. 87. 

2 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 88. 

8 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 115. 

4 J. W. Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 32. 

■ E. A. Moore, The Story of a Cannoneer Under Stonewall Jackson, p. 234. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 343 

All evangelical denominations were well represented in the 
rank and file of the Army. Of the first four companies to arrive 
from Georgia in Virginia, three of the captains were Christians, 
and fifty from one of the companies were members of the same 
church. A regiment stationed near Portsmouth in June, 1861, 
was reported to contain 400 men from the same denomination. 
The "Liberty Hall Volunteers," organized at Washington College, 
included a full set of Christian officers, more than half the rank 
and file were members of some church, and about one-fourth 
were candidates for the ministry. 6 Not a few of the pastors 
had a majority of their male members in the army, and some- 
times they commanded companies composed largely of their own 

The homogeneity of the southern armies gave strength to 
religious influences. Irreligious men were often from the same 
community as their pious comrades, and at home had felt the 
same religious power which was brought to bear upon them in 
the army. The gospel preached to them in camp was not a new 
sound, nor were the words of prayer a strange language. Not 
infrequently the same minister whom they had known at home 
served them in like capacity in the army. 7 

An important factor in the religious life of the Army of North- 
ern Virginia was the exceptional piety of its leaders. General 
Robert E. Lee was deeply devout in his religion and manifested 
a constant interest in the spiritual welfare of the soldiers in his 
command. Though a loyal adherent of the Episcopal Church and 
a regular attendant of Episcopalian services whenever they were 
available, he did not confine his interest to that denomination 
and always treated ministers with the most marked courtesy 
and respect. His religious tolerance is well illustrated in an 
incident told about him in the early stage of the war. An ap- 
plication of a Jewish soldier for permission to attend certain 
religious services of his synagogue in Richmond was endorsed by 
his captain: "Disapproved. If such applications were granted, 
the whole army would turn Jews or Shaking Quakers." When 
the paper came to General Lee, he endorsed it: "Approved, and 

6 Jones, Christ in the Camp, pp. 21, 22. 

7 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 20. 

344 The North Carolina Historical Review 

respectfully returned to the Captain with the advice that he 
should always respect the religious views and feelings of others/' 8 

General "Stonewall" Jackson's intense religious zeal seemed 
at times to border on fanaticism, but there is no doubt that he 
exercised a profound influence on his men. Baptized an Epis- 
copalian, he took great interest in religious matters throughout 
his life. But it was only when he came to Lexington as pro- 
fessor at the Virginia Military Institute that he began his ex- 
tensive church activity. After deliberation under the guidance 
of the Rev. William S. White, he became a Presbyterian, though 
he never accepted the strict Calvinism of that denomination. 
He had a natural reticence which for many years limited his 
public participation in church affairs. But under the tutelage 
of his minister, he gradually overcame his shyness. Just before 
the war he was a deacon, taught a Negro Sunday school, led in 
public prayer, and even conducted a series of lectures on Chris- 
tianity. 9 His was a serious and conscientious religion, which 
insisted on a strict observance of the Sabbath — he opposed the 
carrying of mail on Sunday and always made certain his letters 
would travel on week-days; reflected an extreme belief in the 
doctrine of particular Providence, which made him at times 
rashly careless on the battlefield ; and manifested itself in a sin- 
cere dependence on prayer, which to him was inward spirit 
rather than outward display. A friend once asked Jackson 
what his understanding was of the biblical command to "Pray 
without ceasing." With characteristic modesty, the professor 
assured his friend that he was no model, but went on to say that 
he never drank a glass of water, ate a meal, sent or received a 
letter, or began a class without asking God's blessing. 10 This 
active religious zeal and dependence on prayer were to make 
General Jackson the outstanding promoter of religious work in 
the army and easily its most interesting religious figure. 

Less prominent perhaps, but of real importance in their relig- 
ious influence in the army were a number of other Christian 
commanders. General "Jeb" Stuart, usually remembered for 
his carefree nature and daring exploits, took a genuine interest 
in religious matters and the spiritual welfare of his men. General 

8 Jones, Christ in the Camp, pp. 78, 79. 

8 R. L. Dabney, Life and Campaigns of Lieutenant-General T. J. Jackson, pp. 83-115. 

10 Mary Anna Jackson, Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson, pp. 72, 73. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 345 

John B. Gordon frequently preached to his men and urged min- 
isters to come out to his camp. 11 General G. H. Holmes often 
referred to religion in conversations with his officers. One of 
his chaplains related how the general rebuked him when he 
appeared on the battlefield of Manassas in a uniform which 
Holmes considered too military for a clergyman : "Go back, sir ! 
This is no place for you ; take off that sash, retire to the grove, 
and besiege the throne of grace!" 12 General Jubal Early was a 
bundle of contradictions and inconsistencies, of religion and 
irreligion, of reverence and profanity. He had a deep interest 
in religious work among his men and a feeling of worship toward 
Generals Jackson and Lee, not only as great soldiers, but also as 
great Christians. Yet he was one of the few who were known to 
swear in Lee's presence. The general reproved him gently 
by calling him "my bad old man." 13 

Among the lesser officers were numerous staunch Christians 
who made their influence felt. Eloquent evidence is the testi- 
mony of a fellow-officer to Major John S. Walker, who lost his 
life in an early battle : 

It is impossible to separate his character as a soldier and as a Chris- 
tian; and while he fought manfully against the enemies of his coun- 
try, his fervent spirit fought and labored earnestly against the enemies 
of his Lord.The Word of God was his light in camp, and the tumult 
of war did not stop his devotions. I believe that he prayed without 
ceasing, and that in the end, the arms of the Everlasting One were 
under him. . . . 14 

During the early months of the war the influences of home and 
church were decidedly felt by the soldiers in the camps. Nearly 
every community had its weekly union prayer-meeting. The 
pastors made frequent visits to the camps, often bringing gifts 
for the men from loved ones. Fathers and mothers wrote nu- 
merous letters to the soldiers, urging them to observe their hours 
of secret prayer, read their Bibles, and attend such religious 
services as were within their reach. Typical of these was the 
advice from a father to his son : 

11 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 68. 

12 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 35. 

18 Robert Stiles, Four Years Under Marse Robert, p. 189. 
14 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 169. 

346 The North Carolina Historical Review 

. . . Try to maintain your Christian profession among your comrades 
... as you will come in habitual contact with men of every grade, 
make special associates only of those whose influence on your character 
is felt to be good. . . . Should it be your lot to enter an engagement 
with the enemy, lift up your heart in secret ejaculations to the ever- 
present and good Being, that he will protect you from sudden death, 
or if you fall, that he will receive your departing spirit, cleansed by 
the blood of Jesus, into his kingdom. . . . Providence has placed you 
in the midst of thoughtless and unpardoned men. What a beautiful 
thing if you could win some of them to the Saviour. . . . 1 5 

Letters written by soldiers before entering battle tell of some 
religious interest among the troops. One officer wrote from 
Camp Pendleton, training headquarters for artillery, to The 
Southern Churchman that the chapel had been completed and 
filled on the preceding Sunday and added that there were many 
pious and influential men in the corps who, he hoped, would 
make their lives tell powerfully for Christ and his religion. 16 
Another, writing home from camp along the Rappahannock, 
disclosed : 

... I am happy to state that we are holding prayer-meetings every 
night, when the weather will permit. ... It will be soul-cheering 
for you to know that, in the midst of the profanity and blasphemy of 
camp, there are many Christians. . . . 1 7 

With all these favorable conditions, religion did not thrive 
in the Army of Northern Virginia during the early months of 
the war. Sunday services were held irregularly and with small 
attendance. Testaments collected dust from disuse. In some 
quarters the faithful few who persisted in their devotions were 
scorned as weaklings. Throughout the army many of the men 
who at home took active interest in church affairs lapsed into a 
state of indifference after a short time. 18 

Among the factors contributing to the spiritual indifference 
which distinguished camp life in those days before the fighting 
began was the festive spirit with which the volunteers went to 
war. Few of the men realized that the conflict would be a long 
and bloody one. Then there was the widespread inclination to lay 

16 Carlton McCarthy, Soldier Life in the Army of Northern Virginia, pp. 16-21. 

16 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 40. 

17 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 39. 

18 B. I. Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb, pp. 174, 175. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 347 

aside the inhibitions and conventions to which they had been 
accustomed. Once this reaction set in, it was hard to stop. No 
agency existed for the promotion of wholesale recreation. After 
a while drill and camp routine became dreadfully monotonous. 
Fleas, lice, rations, hard marching, and ragged clothing taxed 
patience beyond endurance. 19 

For all these woes, poker, profanity, and liquor seemed to 
offer the best antidotes. A large number of soldiers began to 
drink after they entered the army, and the demon of the bottle 
was undoubtedly the greatest problem in the camps. An ob- 
server of conditions of vice, drunkenness, and profanity in the 
army attributed them in large measure to the conduct and ex- 
ample of the officers, whom he labeled, for the most part, "pro- 
fane and hard drinkers." On the behavior of the officer, he 
thought, usually depended the discipline of his command. 20 

At the outset of the war, then, there were both favorable and 
unfavorable conditions with regard to religion in the Army of 
Northern Virginia. Coming for the most part from religious 
homes and communties, the southern soldiers were sent to fight 
in a righteous cause with the blessing of the church. In every 
regiment there were usually a large number of church members 
and often ministers. Many of the officers, including the leaders 
of the army, were devout men, interested in the religious wel- 
fare of their commands. Letters from home constantly encour- 
aged devotion to the faith. But the vicissitudes of camp life put 
a severe strain on a soldier's religion, and few were equal to the 
test. As the early months of the war passed, it became increas- 
ingly clear to church leaders throughout the South that a con- 
centration of effort with regard to religious work in the army 
would be necessary if the spiritual needs of the men were to 
be met. 

The organization of religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 
had to do largely with the efforts of chaplains and their asso- 
ciates, the colporteurs, though they were often assisted by in- 
terested officers and men. During the early stages of the war 
these workers were comparatively few in number and not well 
organized. Many of them became so disheartened at the general 

u Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb, p. 175. 

*° Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, pp. 74-76. 

348 The North Carolina Historical Review 

spiritual breakdown in the army that they early despaired of 
their mission and went home. But the need for organized religious 
guidance was soon recognized by the leaders of the Confederacy 
— military, political, and ecclesiastical. General Jackson was 
particularly persistent in his efforts to procure chaplains and 
religious literature for his troops. Late in 1862 the Chaplain's 
Association was formed to coordinate the work in the army and 
secure chaplains for every regiment. The various denomina- 
tions sent missionaries and evangelists into the camps to supple- 
ment the labors of these army ministers. During the final years 
of the war under increasingly trying conditions, religious work 
came to have an important place in the life and interest of the 

On April 27, 1861, the Secretary of War in the newly-created 
Confederate government concluded a report to President Davis 
by insisting on the immediate importance of enacting a law 
empowering his department to appoint chaplains for the service. 
His final words indicate the significance he attached to such 
an act : 

Military experience demonstrates the importance of religious habi- 
tudes to the morality, good order, and general discipline of any army 
in the field. ... If we expect God to bless us in our struggle in defense 
of our rights, we must recognize him in our actions. 21 

A memorial from certain ministers relative to the appointment 
of chaplains was introduced in the Provisional Congress, in 
session at Montgomery, on April 31, and was immediately re- 
ferred to the Military Affairs Committee. 22 Three days later 
the committee reported and an act was passed authorizing the 
President to appoint such chaplains as he deemed expedient and 
to assign them to regiments, brigades, and posts, and setting 
the expiration of appointments at the end of the war. 23 

Though the Congress appeared willing enough to make pro- 
vision for the appointment of chaplains, it showed an extreme 
reluctance to pay them enough to live. The original act pro- 
vided for a salary of eighty-five dollars per month, with allow- 

21 The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Con- 
federate Armies, Ser. IV, Vol. I, p. 252 (hereafter cited as O. R.) . 

22 Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, Vol. I, p. 170 (here- 
after cited as Journal). 

*» O. R., TV, I, p. 275. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 349 

ances for uniforms, rations, and forage. It was amended, how- 
ever, within two weeks, reducing the salary to fifty dollars and 
cancelling the provision for allowances. 24 In August of the 
same year a new amendment allowed chaplains the same rations 
as privates, and the following April their salaries were raised 
to eighty dollars a month. 25 It was only as late as January, 
1864, that President Davis affixed his signature to a bill author- 
izing chaplains to draw forage for their horses. 26 It is no 
wonder, then, that the churches were hard pressed in persuading 
able ministers to enter the chaplaincy. Only those who had 
independent incomes and small families could afford to volunteer, 
and few preachers had either. The seeming adventure and lack 
of responsibility connected with the chaplaincy attracted a large 
number of ministerial ne'er-do-wells, who in many cases. under- 
mined the general reputation of chaplains by their ineffective 

The early scarcity of chaplains provoked a mounting crescendo 
of appeals to swell the number from denominational leaders and 
ministers within the ranks. General Jackson took an active 
interest in providing chaplains for his regiments, as illustrated 
by the letter he wrote during the first year of the war to the 
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church : 

Each branch of the Christian Church should send into the army some 
of its prominent ministers who are distinguished for their piety, 
talents, and zeal, and such ministers should labor to produce a concert 
of action among chaplains and Christians in the army. These min- 
isters should give special attention to preaching in the regiments which 
are without chaplains, and to let regiments name the denominations 
from which they desire chaplains secured, and then see that suitable 
chaplains are secured. . . . 27 

In the selection of a chaplain, denominational lines were mini- 
mized. None was expected to compromise in the least the par- 
ticular beliefs of his church, and a common ground was sought 
upon which all could work together. Of course such a benign 
non-sectarianism was not always observed in practice, and there 
were occasional heated doctrinal exchanges between rival exhort- 

2 * O. R., IV, I, 327. 
26 O. R., IV, I, 595. 

26 Journal, III, 578. 

27 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, pp. 51, 52. 

350 The North Carolina Historical Review 

ers in the same camp. An impetus to harmony was the fact that 
chaplains came almost exclusively from the so-called "orthodox" 
faiths in the South — the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, 
and Episcopalians. There were a few Catholic priests with the 
army, but no representative of the Jewish religion. 28 

To effect a coordination of the efforts of chaplains, an associa- 
tion was organized in Jackson's corps in August, 1862, which 
subsequently encompassed the entire army. The general was 
the leading spirit in the formation of the group and frequently 
attended its sessions, though, at his insistence, in an inactive 
capacity. 29 The first meeting was held at the Old Round Oak 
Church in Caroline County, Virginia, shortly after the return 
of the army from the campaign in Maryland. After the election 
of a moderator there was a period of public worship, following 
which the ministers discussed the general state of religion in the 
army, exchanged experiences and views on methods, and organ- 
ized committees to deal with specific problems. Bi-weekly ses- 
sions of the association were held, when conditions permitted, 
during the remainder of the war. 30 

Rev. B. T. Lacy, a prominent Episcopalian minister, came to 
General Jackson's headquarters at his invitation in March, 1863, 
and was shortly commissioned as a chaplain by the government 
without assignment to any command. His duties were to supply 
regiments without chaplains with temporary services, to effect 
a channel of intercourse between the army and the bodies of 
clergy of the different denominations, through which the latter 
might learn of the needs of the former, and to unify further the 
efforts of the association. 31 A committee was appointed by the 
association, with Dr. Lacy as chairman, which drew up and cir- 
culated widely an appeal for reenforcements. Despite its ef- 
forts, only a minority of the regiments in the army were ever 
supplied with chaplains. 32 

To supplement the work of chaplains, the various denomina- 
tions sent numerous evangelists and missionaries into the camps, 
particularly toward the close of the war. These were not per- 

28 Dabney, Life and Campaigns of T. J. Jackson, p. 651. 

28 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, pp. 55, 56. 

80 Partial minutes of the Chaplains' Association may be found in Jones, Christ in the 
Camp, pp. 513-26. 

31 Dabney, Life and Campaigns of Jackson, p. 648. 

82 A partial roster of the chaplains of the Army of Northern Virginia may be found in 
Jones, Christ in the Camp, pp. 529, 534. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 351 

manently attached to any command but moved throughout the 
army on an arduous schedule, preaching in the regiments which 
were without chaplains or those which were in the midst of 
revival meetings. Their expenses were paid by the various 
churches, though the government did make provision to supply 
them with rations late in 1864. 33 

The regular constituency of a chaplain was a regiment, though 
in some instances a preacher tried to serve a brigade. Some 
were stationed permanently at certain posts. After May, 1864, 
a limited number were appointed to the hospitals for the sick 
and wounded. 34 There was some discussion in Congress in the 
autumn of 1861 relative to the bestowal of military rank on chap- 
lains, but the resolution was ultimately tabled. 35 During the 
latter stages of the war, however, they were generally recognized 
as having the rank of first lieutenant. 36 

The life of conscientious chaplains was an arduous and varied 
one. They founded camp churches of every denomination in 
their regiments; wrote ministers or churches which were con- 
nected with the soldiers under their care or with which converts 
wished to be united and kept them informed from time to time of 
the progress of these individuals; and recorded minutely the 
information obtained in countless pastoral visits which might 
be serviceable in promoting a soldier's spiritual life. Randolph 
McKim, a staff officer in Steuart's Maryland Brigade, who be- 
came a chaplain late in the war, tells in his memoirs of his first 
days in that capacity : 

I secured lists of men in each company who were communicants of any 
church. Then I had a mass meeting of communicants, and sought to 
strengthen their resolution to be faithful to their profession, and 
steadfast in their religious duties, and active in Christian work among 
their comrades. I prepared a series of resolutions along these lines 
and they were adopted by the meeting. My next effort was to build 
up a choir for the better rendering of the hymns at our services, and 
I had choir meetings when possible. . . . 3 ? 

In another passage McKim pictures his daily schedule as a 
chaplain : 

88 Journal, p. 578. 

"O. R., IV, III, p. 496. 

85 Journal, I, p. 293. 

88 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, pp. 54, 55. 

87 Randolph McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, p. 220. 

352 The North Carolina Historical Review 

... I established the rule of having prayers in the regiment daily, both 
morning and evening, and generally made a short address. ... I rose 
regularly about five, and was early ready for any duty. If the regi- 
ment went on picket, prayers were first held. ... I believe the morning 
services were usually before breakfast, and the evening services at 
sunset. . . . 38 

Care and consolation of the wounded was an important part of 
the chaplain's work. When the fighting began, he usually took 
a position near the ambulances or the field hospital, where he 
could assist the litter-bearers and speak words of comfort to 
those in pain. Burial services for the dead were a part of his 
task. After the battle of Gettysburg, Rev. George Patterson of 
the Third North Carolina Regiment heard of an officer who was 
mortally wounded and went out on the field to find him. The 
order had been given for the army to retreat, and, after a brief 
visit, the chaplain told the wounded man he would be obliged 
to leave. The officer then requested that Rev. Patterson read 
the burial service before he left, and there on the battlefield, by 
the light of a lantern, the solemn service was held. 39 

Provisions were made by both governments for the immediate 
release of chaplains when taken prisoner. 40 At Gettysburg sev- 
eral southern clergymen felt it their duty to remain with the 
wounded, and were consequently captured and sent to a prison 
camp at Point Lookout, Maryland, until arrangements could be 
made for their exchange. Federal authorities there exercised 
a strict control over the contacts of chaplains with other pris- 
oners, insisting that their discussions must be solely on religious 
matters. 41 

Chaplains were not authorized to take an active part in battles, 
and most of them did not even carry weapons. One testified 
that it was a harrowing experience "to sit on a horse and have 
nothing to do but be shot at." 42 Some, however, were not so 
scrupulous in observing the rules of warfare. At Chancellors- 
ville, Rev. T. L. Duke, chaplain of the Nineteenth Mississippi 
Regiment, seized a musket, moved to the front of the line, and 
directed the movement against the skirmishers. 43 In the midst 

88 McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, p. 221. 

39 McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, pp. 190, 191. 

40 O. R., II, IV, pp. 288, 318. 

41 O. R., II, VI, p. 363. 

42 McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, p. 226. 
48 O. R., I, XXV, I, p. 873. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 353 

of desultory fighting during the Wilderness campaign, Chaplain 
Cameron of Stuart's Marylanders spotted a Yankee sharpshooter 
in a haystack, fired, felt assured he had killed his man, and was 
filled with mingled feelings of triumph and remorse. It was 
not the last of his uncanonical acts. 44 Several chaplains were 
cited for gallantry, and a few of them were killed in action. 
William Benton Owen, a private appointed as a chaplain late in 
the war, was in front of the breastworks after the battle of 
Spottsylvania Court House caring for the wounded when a 
minnie ball from the rifle of a Yankee sniper struck his shoulder, 
shattered it badly. He never recovered from the wound, and 
died shortly after the war. 45 

The chaplain who braved the dangers of battle, whether with 
or without arms, lifted himself greatly in the esteem of his sol- 
diers. McKim tells of the reaction of his men when he moved 
with them to meet the enemy in their first engagement after he 
arrived. One of the veterans called out to him : "Hello, Parson, 
are you going with us into battle?" "Oh, yes," replied McKim, 
"I'm an old infantry soldier; I don't mind these little cavalry 
skirmishes." Whereupon a rough trooper from the backwoods 
rose in his stirrups, and, brandishing his saber over his head, 
exclaimed: "That's right, Parson. You stick to us, and we'll 
stick to you!" 46 In the camp as well as in battle it was impor- 
tant for the chaplain to share the hardships of his flock. He 
had a degree of freedom not enjoyed by his soldiers, but if he 
stuck to his post, shared their uncomfortable bivouac and scant 
rations, and refused furloughs, his influence over the men was 
greatly extended. General Jackson always reminded his chap- 
lains of their obligation "to endure hardness as good soldiers of 
Jesus Christ," to live with their regiments, acquire their confi- 
dence by sharing their exposures, and stick to their work. He 
said that a chaplain should not think of resigning his post for 
any cause other than that which would justify a field-officer in 
laying down his commission; and he should not think any more 
than he of leaving their regiment without a regular furlough 
founded on a just cause. To do so, he argued, taught the men that 

"O. R., I, V, p. 119. 

48 Stiles, Four Years Under Marse Robert, pp. 143-145 

48 McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, p. 219. 

354 The North Carolina Historical Review 

the soul was less important than the body, and that secular duties 
were more urgent than the business of redemption. 47 

Chief complaints against the chaplains had to do with ignor- 
ance and cowardice. "We have in our company two parsons," 
wrote a Mississippian in his diary; "truth forbids that I should 
say that they are eminent or even thoroughly posted upon Biblical 
questions. . . . The progress of religion amongst us is greatly 
impeded by the embarrassing fact. . . ." 48 It is said that on 
one occasion, when the firing was unusually heavy, a chaplain 
who had labored to convert General Ewell remarked that he 
could be of no service at the front and would seek a less exposed 
place, whereupon Ewell remarked: "Why chaplain, you are the 
most inconsistent man I ever saw. You say you are anxious to 
get to heaven above all things, and now you've got the best 
chance you ever had to go, and you run away from it, just as 
if you had rather not make the trip after all!" 49 

Undoubtedly there was much incompetency among the chap- 
lains during the first years of the war, but the undesirables were 
gradually sloughed off when they found there was real work to 
be done and danger to be met. For the most part the reactions 
of both officers and men to these military clergymen were favor- 
able. It is true colonels objected that, by awakening the men's 
fears of retribution, the chaplains made them unfit for battle. 
But it may be concluded with Rev. B. G. Taylor of the Twenty- 
Seventh Virginia Regiment that the men generally wanted chap- 
lains and appreciated their services. 50 

At the outbreak of the war, religious literature was almost 
entirely published in the North. Most of the Bible societies 
situated there early took a view that Scriptures were contraband 
of war and stopped making their publications available for 
southern distribution. The notable exception was the American 
Bible Society, which made several donations of Testaments, 
including one of 100,000 copies, to groups in the Confederacy 
active in the service of the army. Another outstanding con- 
tributor was the British and Foreign Bible Society, which made 

47 Dabney, Life and Campaigns of T. J. Jackson, pp. 653-655. 

* 8 Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb, p. 189. 

* 9 G. C. Eggleston, A Rebel's Recollections, p. 159. 

60 Jones, Christ in the Camps, pp. 227, 273. 

. i • 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 355 

large contributions and extended unlimited credit without interest 
for the purchase of Testaments for southern soldiers. 51 

Southern affiliates of the American Bible Society severed con- 
nections with the parent organization shortly after the fighting 
began and initiated the Bible Society of the Confedeate States. 
The lack of printing facilities placed the society in a position 
of dependence on purchases from the northern states and Britain. 
Through these channels it was the principal contributor in the 
circulation of Testaments among the soldiers. 52 The various 
Protestant denominations in the South were active in procuring 
Bibles, Testaments, and other religious literature for the army. 
Earliest in the work of colportage were the Baptists, who took 
vigorous measures to meet the needs in their convention in May, 

1861. The Presbyterian Board of Publications saw that regular 
journals of the denomination, a monthly paper especially adapted 
for the wants of the army. Bibles, Testaments, and tracts were 
sent to camps and hospitals from their center of operations. 
The Soldiers' Tract Association of the Methodist Church was 
organized early in 1862 and disseminated millions of pages of 
reading material, including two semi-monthly papers, of which 
40,000 copies were regularly distributed throughout the army. 
Of the many independent organizations which distributed re- 
ligious literature to the soldiers, the most prominent was the 
Evangelical Tract Society, founded in Petersburg, Virginia, in 

1862. Its contribution consisted of more than a hundred differ- 
ent tracts and a religious newspaper, The Army and Navy Mes- 
senger, which achieved a wide circulation. 53 

The most numerous and most influential of religious publica- 
tions issued to soldiers were those which came under the head of 
tracts. Every major denomination and several interdenomi- 
national agencies took an active part in the distribution of this 
form of religious reading. The output from all sources totaled 
hundreds of millions of pages. The Baptists were particularly 
zealous in this work. The Virgina Sunday School and Publica- 
tion Board alone published over thirty millions of pages of bro- 
chures. Among the independent publishers, the Evangelical 
Tract Society and the South Carolina Tract Society were out- 

61 Jones, Christ in the Camps, pp. 148-151. 

62 Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb, p. 176. 

83 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, pp. 72-76. 

356 The North Carolina Historical Review 

standing in this field. 54 A great majority of the tracts were 
pointed spiritual essays prepared especially for soldiers by emi- 
nent southern theologians. The publications were pocket-size 
and the usual length was four pages, though some contained as 
many as sixteen, and a few ran as high as twenty-four. Some 
emphasized the importance of conversion; others told how to 
seek religion; many warned against specific sins; a few gave 
practical advice ; and a great number had as their central theme 
the danger of procrastination. A favorite technique was the 
use of personal incident and experience. Washington, Cromwell, 
and various heroes of the Confederacy were cited as examples of 
Christian fortitude. Military allusions and analogies were fre- 
quently used. The style of writing was usually unctuous. 55 

One of the most popular of all tracts was an eight-page pam- 
phlet called "A Mother's Parting Words to Her Soldier Boy," 
written in letter form by J. B. Jeter. In the first year of publi- 
cation, about 250,000 copies were issued to soldiers. The style 
is direct, crisp, and unencumbered by the unctuous sentimen- 
tality that mars many tracts. In the beginning a good tonic for 
morale is administered: the mother professes to give her son 
without reluctance because he goes to support a righteous cause. 
In this sacred cause, the mother implores her son to be a good 
soldier, obedient to his superiors and courageous in battle. Then 
follows practical advice as to religion in camp ; the son is urged 
to become a Christian, lest his soul perish ; but the argument is 
made with restraint and without appeal to fear. He is then 
admonished to keep his Christianity : guard against drunkenness 
and avoid profanity. He is assured that piety is not effeminate : 
some of the bravest soldiers in the world have been humble Chris- 
tians. Finally there is a benediction and a commitment of the 
son to the providence of the Almighty. 56 

In this phase of religious work in the army, the work was 
again cooperative rather than sectarian. It was alleged during 
the course of the war that the Baptist Society was circulating 
tracts among the soldiers justifying their position on the subject 
of baptism. A similar charge was brought against the Metho- 
dists issuing their views contra on the same question. An in- 

M Jones, Christ in the Camp, pp. 151-156. 
65 Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb, p. 176. 
06 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 171 ff. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 357 

vestigation of the evidence, however, proved this report untrue. 
The publications of this class during the war avoided disputed 
points and taught the cardinal doctrines and duties of Chris- 
tianity. 57 

Distribution of Bibles, tracts, and other religious publications 
was accomplished through special agents called colporteurs, 
through chaplains, and through interested soldiers. One chap- 
lain appointed a man in each company to ascertain the need for 
Testaments, circulated a subscription for a supply of religious 
newspapers, and recorded the distribution of one "cargo" of 
seventy Testaments, forty hymnals, and about one hundred 
prayer books among his men. 58 The soldiers were often the best 
distributors of religious literature. Those who received denomi- 
national newspapers from home usually shared them with their 
comrades. 59 One private, on his own initiative, returned from 
a furlough with thirty-four copies of the New Testament and 
distributed them among the members of his company. 60 An- 
other, who was enlisted in a Virginia regiment, sold the daily 
papers during the time that his command was near Richmond, 
and with the profits bought tracts which he gave to his acquain- 
tances in the army. 61 

The disseminator of tracts was a welcome visitor in the camps. 
The Rev. J. W. Jones writes of his wanderings : 

I had a pair of large saddle-bags, which I used to pack with tracts and 
religious newspapers, and with Bibles and Testaments when I had 
them. Thus equipped, I would sally forth, and as I drew near the 
camp, someone would raise the cry, 'Yonder comes the Bible and tract 
man/ and such crowds would rush out to meet me that frequently I 
would sit on my horse and distribute the supply before I could even 
get to camp. . . , 62 

Even the most irreligious officers welcomed these tract distrib- 
utors to their camps. "Sir," said a notoriously cross and profane 
general to a colporteur, "you have come, I hope, to do all the good 

67 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, pp. 279-280. 
08 McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, p. 239. 

69 H. M. Wagstaff, ed., The James A. Graham Papers, p. 184 (hereafter cited as The 
James A. Graham Papers). 

60 McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, p. 74. 

81 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 83. 

62 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 155. 

358 The North Carolina Historical Review 

you can;" and he showed his sincerity by inviting his visitor to 
eat at his mess and share his tent. 63 

Hospitals were favorite resorts of colporteurs, and no charge 
seems to have been made for literature distributed to the sick and 
wounded. One colporteur wrote of his work in the hospitals 
around Richmond in 1862: 

I have conversed with, addressed, and prayed for many hundreds of 
invalid soldiers during the month, and given to each of them a tract, 
a religious newspaper, or a New Testament, and have received from 
all great respect and from many the most tender expressions of 
gratitude. . . , 64 

Another related a touching scene in a field hospital near Win- 
chester, Virginia : 

There, stretched out before me on coarse, hard beds, lay perhaps one 
hundred sick soldiers. ... As I would go from cot to cot, leaving a tract 
or a Testament and speaking of Jesus, it was not uncommon for some 
sufferer to call from another part of the room, "Bring me one." . . . 65 

The interest of soldiers in religious reading material often 
caused them to send donations for its distribution out of their 
scant pay. A captain in the Twelfth Georgia Regiment testified 
that his company raised sixty dollars on a single day as a con- 
tribution to a regimental fund for religious literature. 66 A 
chaplain with a cavalry regiment under General Early in the 
Shenandoah Valley during 1864 recorded a collection of one hun- 
dred six dollars from two camps for the same purpose. 67 The 
popularity of religious literature was due as often to a dearth of 
reading matter in general as to a genuine interest in spiritual 
instruction. Captain Lewis Minor Coleman testified that one 
of his men who made no pretension to Christianity read the 
Psalms and New Testament through twice during a month's 
encampment because he had nothing else to read. 68 

The agencies responsible for the distribution of religious liter- 
ature encountered great difficulties both in supplying the demand 

63 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 140. 

64 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 155. 

65 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 140. 

66 Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb, p. 179. 

67 McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, p. 239. 
08 Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb, p. 180. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 359 

and meeting the costs involved. So acute became the shortage 
of Testaments that appeals were made to relatives of those killed 
to contribute the Scriptures of the deceased for redistribution. 
Ministers sent out to raise funds for colportage had a good store 
of incidents at hand, telling of the conversion of hardened sin- 
ners by tracts that came accidentally into their possession. Typ- 
ical of these was the story of a wounded officer who was awak- 
ened and led to Jesus while in camp by a fragment of a religious 
tract which he had picked up in an adjoining grove. 69 

Religious services in the army consisted largely of preaching 
and prayer meetings, which were held under a wide variety of 
conditions. The usual time for the former was Sunday morning, 
but the demands of campaigning and the shortage of chaplains 
caused frequent changes in the schedule. Prayer meetings were 
more frequent than sermons and were usually held at night. The 
popularity of such services was widespread, both because of the 
genuine religious interest and the entertainment afforded to drive 
off the ennui of camp life. 

When conditions permitted, chapels were constructed to serve 
as centers of worship. When the army went into winter quar- 
ters along the Manassas lines in 1861, a few commands erected 
crude shelters. General Jackson took great pride in the fact 
that the Stonewall Brigade was among the first in providing a 
place of worship for its men. 70 Chapel building reached its 
climax along the Rapidan in the winter of 1863-64, when over 
forty chapels were constructed. There were a large number 
along the Richmond-Petersburg lines the following winter, 
although the men were obliged to carry logs sometimes for great 
distances because of the scarcity of timber. 71 Two or three 
regiments usually cooperated in the construction of a chapel. 
Tall trees were cut and brought to the spot by teams of the Quar- 
termaster Corps. Walls and chimneys were made of logs and 
plastered with clay. The structure was roofed with clapboards 
and furnished with crude benches formed from the split bodies of 
trees. To save labor and heat, these camp churches were built 
three or four feet below the surface of the earth. They were 

69 Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb, p. 180. 

70 Dabney, Life and Campaigns of Lieutenant-General T. J. Jackson, p. 650. 

71 Jones, Christ in the Camp, pp. 260-62. 

360 The North Carolina Historical Review 

used not only for religious meetings but also for lectures and 
other forms of entertainment for the men. 72 

In the midst of a campaign services were held when and where 
the opportunity presented itself. When the army was on the 
march, they were necessarily held at night. On such occasions 
illumination was afforded by a nickering camp-fire or the light 
of the moon. The minister took his place in the open, with his 
congregation clustered about him on stumps, logs, or on the 
ground. A Methodist preacher thus described such a meeting : 

In the evening, at the close of dress parade, the drums would beat the 
church call. . . . From all directions they come. ... A clear, strong voice 
starts a familiar old hymn; soon thousands of voices chime in. . . . 
The preacher now enters the stands. A thousand hearts are hushed 
to hear the word of the Lord. . . . 73 

When a battle was impending, religious leaders attempted to 
invoke a benediction on the troops before they went into action. 
Chaplains often addressed large groups on the evening before the 
fight. Stiles tells of an amusing incident during the course of 
the Seven Days' battle near Richmond in 1862, when federal 
batteries opened fire on a Confederate prayer-meeting. Many 
of the pious men thought it would show a lack of reverence to 
open their eyes, and were observed crawling around and groping 
for cover, their heads still bowed in prayer. 74 During a later 
battle a service was being held in the proximity of an artillery 
duel. A rifle shell burst in the midst of the congregation during 
the last hymn. Even then, the meeting would have been con- 
cluded in the same spot had not the colonel suggested that the 
worshipers move to a more sheltered position. 75 

Hymn-singing played an important part in most religious 
services in the army. The favorite hymns for camp and field 
were those endeared by associations of home and childhood. A 
study of correspondence, diaries, and camp hymn books reveals 
that the following ranked high in soldier esteem: "All Hail the 
Power of Jesus' Name;" "Amazing Grace;" "How Firm a Foun- 
dation;" "Jesus, Lover of My Soul;" "Just As I Am;" "Nearer, 

72 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 414 ff. 
78 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 247. 
7 * Stiles, Four Years Under Marae Robert, 114. 
78 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 253. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 361 

My God, to Thee;" u O Happy Day;" "On Jordan's Stormy 
Banks;" "Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow;" and 
"When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." 76 The enthusiasm with 
which the soldiers sang made this portion of the services always 
a rousing one. 

Topics of sermons by chaplains, visiting ministers, and mis- 
sionaries were usually practical in nature, having to do with the 
immediate concerns of the men. A correspondent of the Louis- 
ville Courier, reporting a service in the brigade to which he was 
attached during the early months of the war, stated that the 
chaplain had preached a very able discourse to over three thou- 
sand men present on the advice : "Be ye men of Good Courage." 77 
The patriotic theme of love for country was often exploited by 
the camp minister, as is indicated by the notes of a sermon de- 
livered in 1864. The subject was "Divine Providence in Human 

Affairs," and the text Psalms 97:1, 2: "The Lord Reigneth " 

The thought development was thus recorded : 

What practical effect should belief in God's universal providence have 
on us? We should rejoice. Innocence will be vindicated and right 
will at last be might, because "The Lord reigneth." . . . We have ar- 
rived at the crisis in the fate of our beloved country. Whatever the 
result, the Christian need not fear. The doctrine of divine Providence 
should also make us tremble lest we resist His will and bring down 
His vengeance upon our guilty heads. . . , 78 

A graphic indication of the types of services held and the topics 
of sermons may be found in excerpts from the diary of the same 
chaplain : 

Thursday, Sept. 15 : morning prayers at seven ; preached at sunset on 
the Fall and its Consequences. . . . Friday, 16th.: evening service at 
sunset and address on Abraham's Intercession for Sodom as inciting 
Christians to pray for country. . . . Sept. 17th. : held meeting of Chris- 
tians at nine. Usual large attendance at evening prayer. . . . Sunday, 
Sept. 18th.: ordered off at daylight. Held eleven o'clock service and 
preached on John 111:5. . . . Returned to old camp at 3:30 P.M. and 
preached again at night on John III :5. . . . 79 

78 Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb, p. 186. 

77 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 135. 

78 McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, pp. 251, 252. 

79 McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, pp. 221, 222. 

362 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Diaries and letters of soldiers often recorded the texts of ser- 
mons heard, together with references to their scriptural sources. 
Bartlett Yancey Malone, a private in a North Carolina regiment, 
was particularly persistent in this habit, as excerpts from his 
diary of one month in 1862 indicate: 

The 6 day of April which was the Sabath [sic'] was a beautiful Spring 
day. And I went to Fredericksburg to meeting and the Preacher's text 
was the first book of Kings 18 chapter and 21 virse. . . . The 29 of April 
was a beautiful day . . . and the Reverant Mr. Stewart from Alexander 
preached in our camp this eavning and his text was : "I am the Lord of 
Host." . . .so 

An officer, writing to his North Carolina home in October, 1863, 
penned the following lines : 

I heard a first-rate sermon last night by the Rev. Mr. Ewing, Post Chap- 
lain at this place, from Isaiah 55 :6. "Seek ye the Lord while he may 
be found ; call ye upon him while he is near. . . . 8 1 

This practice, in addition to furnishing some interesting evidence 
as to the nature of Civil War sermons, recalls a time when it was 
considered a cardinal sin to be unable to quote a preacher's text. 
Prayer-meetings were more frequent than formal sermons. 
Scripture readings, hymn singing, and prayer usually constituted 
the bulk of the service. Usually there was a brief commentary 
on some Biblical passage or spiritual topic. These meetings 
were led by chaplains, missionaries, or visiting ministers when 
they were available, but in the absence of preachers some laymen 
would be called upon to direct the exercises. McKim describes 
the development of such services in 1862: 

At first we met in private tents, but finally we procured a tent for the 
purpose, and fitted it up with rude benches as to accommodate twenty- 
five or thirty men. Gradually our numbers had increased, and this 
would hardly give seats to as many as would come. Among the attend- 
ants were some from other companies of the regiment. Giraud and I 
used extempore prayer; the others the forms in the prayer-book. . . , 82 

An entry in his diary several months later reads : 

so w W. Pierson, ed., The Diary of Bartlett Yancey Malone, p. 32. 

81 The James A. Graham Papers, p. 156. 

* 2 McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, pp. 60, 61. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 363 

Read, talked, and prayed with about fifteen men at a log house near 
camp. Gave them tracts. They asked my name and on my return, as I 
was riding by, they stopped me to ask what chapter it was I had read 
them. . . , 83 

Sometimes the meetings were very small and informal, having 
as their participants six or eight men forming a mess or groups 
drawn together by convenience or congeniality. During periods 
of revivals, experience meetings were common. Every such season 
of intense spiritual awakening was accompanied by a succession 
of baptizings. Dr. Jones describes a baptism which took place 
in the Rapidan during the winter of 1863 in full view and easy 
range of the pickets on the opposite side. The men in blue did 
not take advantage of the situation, but rather looked on in mute 
wonder as the solemn ordinance was administered. 84 

In most army services denominationalism was minimized. On 
one occasion a visiting minister reported : "We had a Presbyte- 
rian sermon, introduced by Baptist services, under the direction 
of a Methodist chaplain, in an Episcopal church." 85 But it was 
difficult for preachers steeped in sectarianism to avoid offending 
soldiers sensitive to doctrinal differentiation. 

General Lee and the other officers of his command regularly 
encouraged religious services. In July, 1862, a general order 
was issued to the effect that all duties except those of inspection 
would be suspended during Sunday to afford troops the oppor- 
tunity to rest and to enable them to attend religious services. 86 
On February 7, 1864, the commanding general issued another 
order in reiteration : 

The attention of the army has been called to the obligation of the 
proper observance of the Sabbath, but a sense of its importance, not 
only as a moral and religious duty, but as contributing to the personal 
well-being and help of the troops, induces the commanding general 
to repeat the Orders on that subject. He has learned with great 
pleasure that in many brigades, convenient houses of worship have 
been erected, and earnestly desires that every faculty consistent with 
the requirements of discipline be afforded to the men to assemble them- 
selves for the purpose of devotion. . . . 8 ? 

88 McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, p. 136. 
84 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 254. 
88 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 223. 
88 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 49. 
• t O. R., I, XXXIII, 1150. 

364 The North Carolina Historical Review 

On several occasions when fighting interrupted scheduled ser- 
vices, General Jackson set aside the time immediately following 
the battle for that purpose. 

The soldiers responded to the services with large attendance 
and enthusiastic support. As illustrating how the men would 
come out to preaching under difficulties, one of the chaplains 
reported that one Sunday early in the winter of 1863 there came 
a fall of snow, which he supposed would entirely break up the 
Sunday service, as they had no chapel. At the appointed time, 
however, a large congregation had assembled, and he preached 
to men who stood in snow several inches deep, among whom he 
counted fourteen barefooted men. Services in hospitals were 
particularly well received. A sermon on "Peace in Christ" to a 
group of veterans in all stages of illness had, according to one 
observer, the most attentive audience he had ever witnessed." 88 

To promote spiritual fellowship and religious constancy, Chris- 
tian associations were formed in many brigades. Rev. D. W. 
Chambers, writing to the Biblical Recorder in 1862, reported 
that an association had been organized in his Thirty-Seventh 
North Carolina Regiment, composed of 132 members from eight 
denominations, the colonel included. 89 In the Fourteenth South 
Carolina Regiment the Christian Association had as its purpose, 
as the Constitution declared, "to use all means in our power to 
grow in grace, to promote grace in each other, and to be instru- 
mental in bringing others to a saving knowledge as it is in 
Jesus." 90 

Religious work in the army, then, centered in the presence 
and influence of chaplains and their associates, the distribution 
of religious literature, and the various types of religious services 
held. Out of this work and the bloody experiences of war 
emerged a spiritual movement whose effects were unique in the 
history of armies. 

It would be impossible to arrive at any accurate estimate as 
to the total impact of religion upon the soldiers of the Army of 
Northern Virginia; yet there is much evidence that it was un- 
usually strong. The "Great Revival," an evangelistic outgrowth 
of the religious work described in the preceding chapter, swept 

88 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 217. 

89 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 39. 

90 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 311. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 365 

the southern armies in the latter years of the war and was par- 
ticularly potent in General Lee's command. As casualties in- 
creased and the prospect of death became terrifying in its im- 
minence, the southern soldier turned his attention more and more 
to spiritual matters. Taking the cue from his devout com- 
manders, he came increasingly to depend on the providence of 
God for the preservation of his life and the victory of southern 
arms. It appears that religion as experienced during the war 
had its permanent effect on many of the men. A large number 
became ministers and more faithful church members. Some 
ascribe the remarkable patience with which the southern veterans 
endured the indignities and hardships of the Reconstruction 
period largely to the religious nature of their army life. 

The "Great Revival" in the southern armies was a religious 
phenomenon unique in the history of warfare. Evidences of 
it can be found in the wake of the first battles, but the initial 
period of intensity came during the winter of 1862-1863, follow- 
ing the battle of Fredericksburg. Thereafter the revival fervor 
came in cycles, losing momentum during the months of active 
campaigning and returning with new strength when the army 
paused for rest and reorganization. It reached its climax in the 
camps along the Rapidan during the winter of 1863-1864 and 
broke out again among the troops in the siege along the Rich- 
mond-Petersburg lines just a few months before the final sur- 

A number of factors may be suggested as contributing to this 
religious awakening. To an extent it was the result of a wide- 
spread and well organized denominational propaganda, or the 
ultimate success of southern churches in providing the army 
with tracts and preachers. A second cause may be found in the 
character of the southern soldiers: most wearers of the grey 
came from communities where the church was fervid, aggres- 
sive, and influential and where revivals were common. A third 
cause lay in the state of mind which pervaded the army and the 
citizenry after the second year of the conflict. The series of 
setbacks following the early victories deflated the extreme con- 
fidence of the Confederates, and churches began to sound the 
note that military defeats were punishment as a rebuke to sin 
and to the overweening confidence in the strength of man. A 

366 The North Carolina Historical Review 

fourth and final factor was the increasing prospect of death 
which confronted the soldiers as the war went into its final 
years. 91 

The fountainhead of the revival seems to have been in the 
military hospitals. A correspondent thus described the spirit 
in the hospitals in one of the Richmond papers early in 1862 : 

At no time do men feel more grateful to the giver of all good, and are 
more likely to become pious, than when in recovering from long spells 
of sickness. . . . 92 

In Richmond alone there were many thousands of sick and 
wounded in the hospitals at this time. Daily meetings were 
being held at Camp Winder, just outside the city, and a number 
of converts reported. Similar reports came from hospitals in 
Petersburg, Lynchburg, and Farmville. 93 

The return of the army to Virginia following the campaign 
in Maryland in September, 1862, set the stage for the first im- 
portant period of revivalism in the camps. The necessary rest 
and reorganization of the army gave the chaplains and interested 
soldiers their opportunity to capture the attention of the men. 
The response of those appealed to was quickened by reminders 
of the bloody experiences from which they had emerged and the 
dangers they had escaped. 94 In Jackson's corps there was a 
particular emphasis on the need for a spiritual awakening, and 
the general continuously prodded the chaplains to their duty. 95 

It was following the battle of Fredericksburg in December of 
that year, however, that the evidences of revivalism became 
abundant. The center of the movement seems to have been in 
the town of Fredericksburg itself, and the brigade in which it 
began was that of Barksdale's Mississippians, whose chaplain 
was the Rev. W. B. Owens. 96 The Baptist church in the city 
had been so damaged in the bombardment that it could not be 
used. The meetings were first held in the Presbyterian church, 
then in the Methodist church, and finally they were transferred 
to the Episcopal church, which was the largest in the city and 

91 Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb, pp. 183, 184. 

92 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 210. 

93 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 211 ff. 

94 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 204. 
90 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 293. 

96 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, pp. 246, 247. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 367 

accommodated from 1,000 to 1,200 men. 97 In addition to the 
regimental chaplains, the ablest and most distinguished ministers 
from over the South were present and assisted in the meetings. 
Dr. J. C. Stiles, an eloquent preacher of seventy years who served 
on General Jackson's staff as a scout, visited numerous camps 
and preached with remarkable results. 98 Perhaps even more 
effective than the formal services were the simple song, prayer, 
and experience meetings of the men, held usually an hour before 
the preaching began. 99 

From the city the revival spread into the neighboring camps 
and fields and absorbed the interest of the men with increasing 
response, except for the interruption of the battle of Chancellors- 
ville, until the army began its march into Pennsylvania in the 
early summer of 1863. One of the most powerful revivals of 
the period was in Thomas's Georgia Brigade, which began in 
February. It was led by the Rev. J. J. Hyman, chaplain of the 
Forty-Ninth Regiment, who preached from four to six times a 
day and was about to break down when a neighboring minister 
came to his assistance. 100 After the great victory at Chancel- 
lorsville the fervor of revival was more intense than at any time 
previous. Only minor military movements were undertaken 
for some weeks as the army lay along the south bank of the Rap- 
pahannock, and the opportunity was well used by the religious 
workers in the camps. A circular sent out by the Chaplains' 
Association gave a favorable account of the general revival spirit. 
In almost every regiment reports of chaplains and colporteurs 
were enthusiastic. 101 

The religious and often the secular papers filled columns with 
the news of this spiritual awakening among the soldiers. An 
editorial in the Richmond Christian Advocate early in 1863 
waxed eloquent: 

Not for years has such a revival prevailed in the Confederate states. 
Its records gladden the columns of every religious journal. Its prog- 
ress in the army is a spectacle of moral sublimity over which men and 
angels can rejoice. Such camp meetings were never seen before in 
America. The bivouac of the soldier never witnessed such nights of 

97 Stiles, Four Years Under Marse Robert, p. 140. 

88 Stiles, Four Years Under Marse Robert, p. 139. 

99 Stiles, Four Years Under Marse Robert, p. 141. 

100 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 306. 

101 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 308 ff. 

368 The North Carolina Historical Review 

glory and days of grandeur. The Pentecostal fire lights the caihp, and 
armed hosts of men sleep beneath the wings of angels, rejoicing over 
many sinners that have repented. . . . 102 

A soldier in General G. T. Andersons Georgia Brigade wrote 
home at this time as follows : 

We recently broke camp where, for four weeks, we have enjoyed un- 
broken rest; and it has been one long camp meeting — a long revival 
season — during which we have held divine services daily. ... A great 
revolution has been wrought in the moral tone of the brigade. . . , 103 

Carefully compiled statistics indicate that, in the winter and 
spring of 1863, there were at least 1,500 conversions in the Army 
of Northern Virginia. 104 One chaplain reported 500 in his 
brigade alone, though it appears that his estimate was probably 
exaggerated. 105 Beyond the numerical tabulation of the effects 
of the revival of this period* religious workers frequently indi- 
cated in their reports the marked improvement in moral condi- 
tions among the soldiers. 

The campaign into Pennsylvania, climaxed in the battle of 
Gettysburg, greatly impeded the progress of the revival for 
several months during the summer of 1863. With the return 
of the army to Virginia and the establishment of winter quarters 
along the Rapidan, however, spiritual enthusiasm broke out with 
new force. Writing to his mother from one of the camps in 
October a North Carolina private stated : 

The revival is still going on in our Brigade and there are a number of 
converts every day and almost everybody is becoming serious. Instead 
of hearing swearing all the time you seldom hear an oath in our Reg't 
now. . . , 106 

In General Gordon's command revival services continued night 
after night for long periods, increasing in attendance and in- 
terest until they brought under religious influence the great 
majority of the men. 107 At the Chaplains' Association meeting 
of March 23, 1864, it was reported that there had been seventy- 

102 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, pp. 322, 323. 

103 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 310. 

104 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 307. 

100 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 285. 

106 The James A. Graham Papers, p. 156. 

107 Gordon, Reminiscences of the Civil War, pp. 229, 230. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 369 

one conversions during the preceding six weeks in one brigade, 
though it had been on picket and without the benefit of a chapel 
for meetings. In another brigade the report showed a total of 
428 Christians, of whom 190 had been converted since the be- 
ginning of the war. 108 

The active campaign against General Grant in the Wilderness 
during the following months again diminished the intensity of 
the revival, though many soldiers were converted on the march, 
in the trenches, and in the hospitals. With the beginning of the 
siege along the Richmond-Petersburg lines in the autumn of 
1864, however, there was another wave of religious enthusiasm 
as powerful and general as it had been at any previous time, 
which only ceased when the army was disbanded the following 
April at Appomattox. 109 

The estimate of one writer places the total conversions in the 
Army of Northern Virginia during the four years of the war at 
a minimum of 50,000 men. 110 Dr. Jones, however, made a 
careful compilation, based on the minutes of the Chaplains' As- 
sociation, the testimonies of other chaplains and missionaries, 
and statistics from the files of religious newspapers, and reached 
what seems to be a more reasonable aggregate of 15,000. m 
Such a tabulation, of course, cannot be considered a barometer 
of these periodic spiritual eruptions, but it does give an indica- 
tion of the large number of men affected. Writing a number 
of years after the war, one minister was convinced that these 
army conversions were more permanent in their effect as a whole, 
than those under ordinary circumstances. 112 

As a matter of fact, evangelistic outbreaks in the army seem 
to have been of a restrained character emotionally. Certainly 
they were accompanied by much less bombast than some of the 
revivals in hinterland areas earlier in the century. Perhaps 
audiences made up of hard-bitten campaigners were less suscep- 
tible than civilian congregations to such fervid exercises. Few 
camp ministers attempted to work up an emotional lather among 
their hearers. Seekers of religion were rarely brought up to 
a mourner's bench and subjected to long sessions of praying, 

108 Jones, Christ in the Camp, pp. 373, 375. 

109 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 353. 

110 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, pp. 412, 413. 

111 Jones, Christ in the Camp, pp. 390, 391. 
113 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 403, 

370 The North Carolina Historical Review 

high-pressure exhorting, and beating on the back. The most 
common procedure was for declarations of faith and repentance 
to be made by the simple expedient of walking up to a rostrum 
and shaking hands with the preacher. 113 

The conviction of southern people that theirs was a righteous 
cause, supported by Almighty God, was a potent source of confi- 
dence in the army throughout the war and particularly when 
Confederate military fortunes were at an ebb. The note of 
reliance on God for ultimate success was sounded in the midst 
of over-confidence following the early victory at Manassas by a 
Christian congressman, who proposed that the hand of the Most 
High God be recognized in the victory and that the people of 
the Confederacy designate the following Sunday as a day of 
united thanksgiving. 114 To bolster the general morale and 
particularly the endurance of the soldiers, President Davis at 
intervals proclaimed special days for "fasting, humiliation, and 
prayer." It is interesting to note that these were always called 
following reverses on the fields of battle. 115 

Nowhere was the religious nature of the generals of the Army 
of Northern Virginia more clearly evident than in their ex- 
pressed reliance on God, both in military success and failure. 
General Lee, in his orders and reports, always recognized "the 
Lord of Hosts" as the "giver of victory." Announcing his no- 
table triumph at Fredericksburg, his despatch to President Davis 
contained the brief but significant sentence : "Thanks be to God." 
An extract from the order to his troops not long after this battle 
breathes this spirit of dependence : 

The signal manifestations of divine mercy that have distinguished 
the eventful and glorious campaign of the year just closing give as- 
surance of hope that under the guidance of the same Almighty hand, 
the coming year will be no less fruitful of events that will ensure the 
safety, peace, and happiness of our beloved country. . . , 11Q 

Distress brought a change of tone, but not of faith. In reporting 
the death of his "right arm" a few months later, he stated : 

n8 Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb, pp. 182, 183. 

114 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 112. 

115 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 44-46. 
118 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 55. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 371 

The daring, skill, and energy of this great soldier are, by the decree 
of an all-wise providence, now lost to us; but while we mourn his 
death, we feel his spirit still lives, and will inspire our whole army 
with his indomitable courage and unshaken confidence in God, our 
hope and our strength. . . . 1 1 7 

His private correspondence while in command of the army illus- 
trates the intimate and pervasive quality of this spirit. As he 
faced the uncertainties of the campaign of 1864, he wrote the 
following lines to his cousin Margaret : 

You must sometimes cast your thoughts on the Army of Northern 
Virginia and never forget it in your pious prayers. It is preparing for 
a great struggle, but I pray and trust that the great God, mighty to 
deliver, will spread over it his Almighty arm and drive his enemies 
before it. . . , 118 

General Jackson always invoked God's blessing and protection 
on his army when it entered into battle, and when a contest was 
concluded the same rigid remembrance of divine power was 
observed. Indicative is his general order following the victory 
at Winchester during his amazing Valley campaign of 1862 : 

The chief duty today of the Army is to recognize devoutly the hand 
of a protecting Providence in the brilliant successes of the past three 
days, which has given us the result of a great victory without great 
losses, and to make the oblation of our thanks to God for his mercies 
to us and our country in acts of heartfelt religious worship. . . , 119 

The general's perpetual state of prayer became particularly evi- 
dent on these occasions of military crisis. His Negro servant 
Jim, when asked if he knew when a battle was impending, re- 
plied that there was one indication that was always certain. 
When he saw his master arise several times in the night to pray, 
he would go immediately and pack his haversack, because he 
knew the general would call for it the following morning. 120 

It is a curious fact that Jackson's army was repeatedly forced 
to fight on the Sabbath, which upset the general no end. Writing 

117 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 307. 

118 A. S. Long, Memoirs of Robert E. Lee, p. 350. 

119 Jones, Christ in the Camp, pp. 91, 92. 

120 Dabney, Life and Campaigns of Jackson, p. 492. 

372 The North Carolina Historical Review 

to his wife in explanation of his Sunday attack on Kernstown, he 
revealed a troubled conscience : 

I felt it my duty to do it, in consideration of the ruinous effect that 
might result from postponing the battle until the next morning. So 
far as I can see, my course was a wise one; the best that I could do 
under the circumstances, though very distasteful to my feelings, and 
I pray my Heavenly Father that I may never again be circumstanced 
as on that day. I believe that so far as our troops were concerned, 
necessity and mercy both called for the battle. . . . 121 

A marked characteristic of Jackson's piety and sense of depen- 
dence was the humility with which he regarded the exploits of 
his army. Returning from the pursuit after Second Manassas, 
one of the staff remarked that the battle had been won by the 
determination of the soldiers, to which the general replied: 
"Don't forget; it has been won by the help of God." 122 When 
General Lee's message of commendation was read to him follow- 
ing his masterpiece at Chancellorsville and as he lay mortally 
wounded, he remarked: "General Lee is very kind; but he 
should give the glory to God." 123 So convinced were his soldiers 
of "Stonewall's" combined piety and military adroitness that 
some claimed in all seriousness that the Lord had to remove the 
general before the Yankees could triumph. 124 

As the war progressed, the sanguinary battles and uncertainty 
of life turned the minds of the soldiers increasingly toward re- 
ligion as a source of security. A private thus described his 
experience following a battle : 

The moment the thing was over, I just took out and ran as hard as 
ever I could into the deep, dark woods . . . and went right down on my 
knees. . . . The Lord never held it against me at all, and we settled it 
right there. . . . 125 

A member of the Second Palmetto Regiment wrote to the South- 
ern Christian Advocate early in the war that God had given his 
group "a grateful sense of security" while in an advanced post 
for weeks in the face of the enemy. 126 

121 Dabney, Life and Campaigns of Jackson, p. 330. 

122 H. K. Douglas, / Rode with Stonewall, p. 141. 

128 Dabney, Life and Campaigns of Jackson, p. 710. 
124 McKim, A Soldier's Recollections, p. 95. 
126 Stiles, Four Years Under Marse Robert, pp. 141, 142. 
ia6 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 381. 

Religion in the Army op Northern Virginia 373 

From all indications, this turning to religion had a genuinely 
salutary effect on the rank and file in such practical matters as 
discipline, morale, and conduct under fire. A widespread reform 
of morals occurred in the repression of drunkenness and pro- 
fanity. The army became outstanding in its honesty and respect 
for women and children. 127 Commands noted for their religious 
zeal sometimes showed extraordinary trustworthiness under fire. 
The brigade of Barksdale, the focal point of the Great Revival, 
held its ground admirably under the great bombardment at 
Fredericksburg. 128 It was observed that in a brigade in which 
a revival had been recently held, the two regiments which had 
not participated broke in the ensuing battle, while the three 
which had taken part stood firm and won a special commendation 
from the commanding general. 129 

Even the northern leaders recognized the power of religion 
as a source of resistance in the southern armies. In an interview 
with a committee sent by a convention at Chicago, comprising 
Christians of all denominations, to urge the abolition of slavery, 
President Lincoln stated that there was nothing more discourag- 
ing to him than the effect of the rebel soldiers' prayers on their 
fighting spirit. 130 A northern minister thus described this 
quality in the enemy, as a result of his observation at the battle 
of Gettysburg : 

Every soldier is taught to feel that the cause in which he contends is 
one that God approves; that if he is faithful to God, His almighty 
arm will protect and his infinite strength insure success. Thus be- 
lieving that God's arm of protection is thrown around him, that God's 
banner of love is over him, that God's eye of approval is on him, the 
southern soldier enters the field of battle nerved with a power of 
endurance and a fearlessness of death which nothing else can 
give. . . . 131 

As the war entered its final stages and material resources 
dwindled, soldiers came to rely almost exclusively on divine 
power to bring peace and victory. A private in a North Caro- 
lina regiment described how a day of fasting, proclaimed by 
President Davis early in 1864, was observed in camp : 

127 McCarthy, Soldier Life in the Army of Northern Virginia, pp. 222, 223. 

128 Dabney, Life and Campaigns of Jackson, p. 657. 
128 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 381. 

180 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 227. 

181 Bennett,^ A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 367. 

374 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Everybody seemed to be impressed with the solemnity of the occasion, 
and you could hear none of the noise about camp that you hear on 
every other day, even on Sundays. The camp seemed almost deserted 
for most of the men stayed in their tents and kept very quiet. I 
think at least two-thirds of our Reg't fasted, and I believe all Reg'ts 
did equally well. . . , 132 

In the final siege during the following winter the army practi- 
cally subsisted on prayer. At a meeting held near General Gor- 
don's headquarters there was the peculiar sadness significant of 
a brave despair. A private who had not the benefit of an educa- 
tion voiced the feeling of all when he prayed : "Oh Lord, we are 
having a mighty big fight down here, and a sight of trouble ; and 
we hope, Lord, that you will take a proper view of the matter, 
and give us the victory." On another such occasion a one-legged 
veteran did not like the prayer which a comrade led for more 
manhood, more strength, and more courage, and called out from 
his seat: "Hold on there. Don't you know you are praying all 
wrong? Why don't you pray for more provisions? We have 
more courage now than we have any use for!" 133 According 
to one writer, a sort of religious ecstacy took possession of the 
army at this time, a wishful hope for a miraculous interposition 
of supernatural power. Men in this mood made the best of sol- 
diers, and at no time were the fighting qualities of the southern 
army better than during this siege. Disaster seemed only to 
strengthen the faith of many. They saw in it a needed lesson 
in humility and an additional reason for believing that God meant 
to bring about victory by his own and not by human strength. 134 
The manner in which many southern soldiers died is further 
indicative of the profound effect religion came to have in the 
army. Chaplains reported numerous instances where men met 
death with a smile, sending messages to loved ones that every- 
thing was all right. A recurring sentence in such death scenes 
was: "Tell all my friends to meet me in heaven." An officer, 
passing over a battlefield after the fighting, saw a soldier kneeling 
with his eyes and hands upraised to heaven ; on approaching and 
touching him, he found him dead. 135 Such courageous depar- 

182 The James A. Graham Papers, p. 185. 

m Gordon, Reminiscenses of the Civil War, pp. 416, 417. 

134 Eggleston, A Rebel's Recollections, pp. 240-242. 

138 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, pp. 162-164. 

Religion in the Army of Northern Virginia 375 

tures were frequently used by military pulpiteers to inspire those 
living with like courage and faith. These experiences, both wit- 
nessed and heard, made a deep impression on the minds of the 

The conditions which surrounded the Confederate soldiers 
when they were disbanded and the manner in which these men 
met those conditions give evidence that their profound religious 
convictions, deepened in the camps, had a potent influence on 
their conduct. Accustomed to the restraints of the most rigid 
regulations for four years, they were suddenly granted a com- 
plete freedom. Penniless as they were, with entire economic 
and social system disrupted most of them went to work without 
complaint. Under a political regime which taxed their patience 
to the extreme, they kept the peace and lived circumspectly, 
though always strong in their insistence upon law and order. 136 

The unusual number of soldiers in the Army of Northern 
Virginia who entered the ministry after the war gives weight 
to the evidences of the permanent effect of war-time religious 
experiences. A report of the Chaplains' Association early in 
1864 showed that in one brigade alone more than twenty men, 
from colonel to private, were known to have the ministry in view 
and were studying to that end. 137 Statistics from colleges and 
seminaries in the years following the close of hostilities indicated 
that a large number of soldiers were in preparation for preaching 
and that most of them had decided on the ministry while in the 
army. 138 An interesting example of this type is General C. A. 
Evans, who was a Methodist class-leader before the war, volun- 
teered as a private in the Thirty-First Georgia Regiment, dis- 
tinguished himself in many battles, and at the end was in com- 
mand of General Gordon's division. During the course of the 
war he experienced the call to preach and was licensed as a min- 
ister in the Methodist Church soon after his return home. 139 

A compilation of letters received from pastors and college 
presidents throughout the South some three years after the war 
brought the conclusion that nearly all army converts were main- 
taining their profession and were faithful church members. The 

138 Gordon, Reminiscences of the Civil War, pp. 233, 234. 

137 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 375. 

138 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 463. 

139 Bennett, A Narrative of the Great Revival, p. 249. 

376 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Rev. R. H. Bagby reported that of the twenty-seven members 
of his church who returned at the close of the war, all but two 
came back more earnest Christians and more efficient church 
members than they had been. 140 

Out of a religious background, the soldiers of the South had 
entered the war with the confident assurance that victory would 
be theirs under God. Though dismayed by the defeat of their 
country and cause, they did not lose faith in their religion. On 
the contrary, many of them accepted the outcome as an indication 
of God's will and took the lead in a movement of reconciliation 
with their former enemies. In the years of destitution which 
followed, religion continued to have a place of eminent impor- 
tance in southern life and thought. 

140 Jones, Christ in the Camp, p. 396. 


Edited by Edgar W. Knight 

It has been noted often that, historically viewed, education 
ranks in conservatism along with such other deep-seated human 
interests and activities as religion, politics, and economics. Not- 
withstanding its alleged conservative character, and even 
allowing for the obvious values of intelligent experimentation, 
education in this country has often seemed rather naively 
susceptible to innovations and to untested theories. There is some 
evidence that few if any such deep-seated human interests have 
been more sensitive than education to exaggerated proposals, 
waves of opinion, fashions or fads, especially if these promise 
promptly to work magical reforms. Movement after movement, 
scheme after scheme, experiment after experiment, device after 
device in education in this country have had their day and then 
have ceased to be. Among these educational novelties was that 
extraordinary mode of teaching "invented" by Joseph Lancaster, 
which also furnished another illustration of the ancient truth 
that "there is no royal road to learning." 1 

Considerable contemporary controversy raged around the 
question of priorty in the discovery or invention of the "mutual 
tuition" of pupils or the monitorial method of teaching. Lan- 
caster (1778-1838), a Quaker, claimed to be its "inventor" as 
did also Andrew Bell (1753-1832), Anglican divine, or his 
friends for him. Lancaster organized and conducted on the 
monitorial plan, a school of more than a thousand pupils for the 
purpose of trying to remove or at least to reduce illiteracy and 
vice among underprivileged youth of Southwark, London. To 
promote the system the Royal Lancasterian Institution was 
established in 1808, later known as the British and Foreign 
School Society, but Lancaster fell out with the organization and 
in 1818 came to America. Bell served as a tutor in Virginia and 
then as superintendent of an orphan asylum in India, A scarcity 
of teachers there caused him to resort to the method of mutual 

1 This is said to be a misquotation of a remark by Euclid to Ptolemy of Egypt, who wished 
to learn geometry and asked the great Greek mathematician if the subject could be acquired 
without the intellectual inconvenience of going through the thirteen books of his Elements. 
Euclid is reported to have replied: "There is no royal road to geometry." 


378 The North Carolina Historical Review 

instruction of the pupils ; and after his return to England toward 
the end of the eighteenth century he described this method in a 
little book called An Experiment in Education. But it seems that 
little public notice was given to monitorial devices until Lancaster 
had opened and conducted his school on principles set out by 
Bell. The British and Foreign Society continued and enlarged its 
monitorial educational activities, on a non-sectarian basis in 
management and in religious instruction, whose features enlisted 
the sympathy of Jeremy Bentham, the English philosopher and 
jurist, James Mill, Scottish philosopher, historian, and political 
economist, and other liberal thinkers of the time, but aroused 
the anxieties and opposition of religious and political conserva- 
tives. As a result the Church party founded the "National 
Society" to use monitorial educational methods to provide op- 
portunities for poor and otherwise underprivileged children. 
Rivalry between the two groups naturally developed and so also 
did claims of priority in the discovery of this method of teaching. 

Both Bell and Lancaster and those who fell for this pedagogical 
fad made high claims for its wonder-working powers. Bell 
claimed: "Give me 24 pupils today and I will give you back 24 
teachers tomorrow," a promise for pedagogical acceleration 
almost as lofty as that made nowadays to candidates for master's 
degrees in education in American summer sessions. 

Lancaster, who had published in 1803 a book on the subject 
under the title Improvement in Education, is said often to have 
lost himself in "dreamy calculations" of the time required to 
educate all the people on earth by the monitorial plan. And the 
announcement of his lecture "at the Fremasons* Tavern, Great 
Queen Street, Lincolns Inn Fields, on the Evening of the Day 
called Monday, the 1st of Seventh Month (July) 1811" was 
certainly not unduly modest. There Lancaster claimed that under 
this system : 

one master (often a lad from fourteen to eighteen years of age) can 
be rendered competent to the government of a school containing from 
200 to 1,000 scholars. The expense of Education for each individual 
will also diminish in proportion as the Number under the care of the 
same master increases. 

The System of Order and Tuition serves in lieu of experience and 
discretion in the Teacher, whose qualifications consists only of a small 

Interest in the South in Lancasterian Methods 379 

degree of Elementary Knowledge. Five Hundred children may spell at 
the same time. A whole school, however large, may read and spell 
from the same book. The Master will be wholly relieved from the duty 
of Tuition 2 and have for his charge that of frequent inspection of the 
Progress made by the Pupils. 3 

The Lancasterian scheme seems to have quickly caught on in 
the United States after Lancaster's arrival here in 1818, to 
stimulate and promote interest in his method of teaching. In 1821 
he published The Lancasterian System of Education, with Im- 
provements by the Founder, which seems to have been rather 
widely read and to have increased his publicity, for which he 
apparently was not altogether lacking in genius. 

There was much interest in North Carolina in the monitorial 
system of education, before Lancaster came to the United States. 
As early as 1814 the editor of a newspaper had congratulated 

our fellow-citizens on the prospect of establishing in the Preparatory 
School of our Academy, the highly approved mode of teaching children 
the first rudiments of Learning, invented by the celebrated Joseph 
Lancaster of London, by which one man can superintend the instruc- 
tion of any number of scholars from 50 to 1,000. At the monthly 
meeting of the trustees of the Academy on Saturday last, a favorable 
Report was made by a Committee who had been appointed to consider 
this subject, from which it appeared, that when this plan shall be 
introduced, the children of all such parents in the city and neighbor- 
hood as are unable to pay their tuition, may be taught without addi- 
tional expense, so that this institution will answer all the purposes of 
a Free School. 4 

The report was unanimously accepted, the sum of $200 was 
promptly subscribed by the trustees, and the editor expressed 
the view that a sufficient fund would be raised immediately to 
send "a fit person to the District of Columbia (where there is a 
school of this kind in operation under the direction of one of 
Mr. Lancaster's pupils) 5 to receive the necessary instruction, 
and return hither for the purpose of undertaking the contem- 
plated School, which it is proposed shall open with the ensuing 

2 An early example of classroom "escapism" by teachers, who may nowadays find a 
measure of escape in the fashionable "panel discussion." 

3 See Sir Josiah Fitch, Educational Aims and Methods, p. 356. Quoted in William A. 
Maddox, The Free School Idea in Virginia Before the Civil War, pp. 26, 27. 

* The Raleigh Register, April 1, 1814. 
"Robert Ould. 

380 The North Carolina Historical Review 

year." Those benevolent people who were willing to help in 
spreading the benefits of education "amongst the poorest classes 
of the community" were requested to express their interest by 
placing their names to a subscription paper in the hands of the 
treasurer of the academy. 

Another Raleigh newspaper later announced that "Mr. Lan- 
caster's celebrated mode of teaching the elements of the English 
language will go into operation in the Preparatory Department of 
the Raleigh Academy on Monday next." 6 And a few weeks later 
the secretary of the trustees of the Raleigh Academy wished 
"it to be generally known, that the new and highly approved 
Plan of teaching the first Rudiments of Learning, invented by 
the celebrated Joseph Lancaster of England, is now in operation 
in their Preparatory School." Among the "great advantages" 
claimed for the scheme were "that a Teacher can instruct any 
number of Children that his School Room will hold ; Children are 
taught the Rudiments of Learning in a much shorter time than 
in the usual way (the youngest learning to read and write at the 
same time) ; it is much cheaper than the old mode, the price 
being $10 a year only, and no Books are required." Children of 
indigent parents would be received without expense." No one 
except the trustee to whom an indigent would apply and the 
treasurer of the academy (not even the Teacher) know which 
of the Scholars are paid for and which are taught gratis." 7 

Archibald D. Murphey, "the father of public schools in 
North Carolina," in his distinguished report to the General 
Assembly of that state in 1817 recommended the monitorial 
system for primary schools and believed it could be successfully 
introduced in the academies and the university. The success 
which had attended Lancaster's methods "has been astonishing," 
wrote Murphey, who believed that in time the Lancasterian 
system would "become the universal mode of instruction for 
children. ,, It was "equally distinguished by its simplicity, its 
facility of application, the rapid intellectual improvement which 
it gives, and the exact discipline which it enforces. The moral 

6 Raleigh Star, February 10, 1815. 

7 The Raleigh Register, March 17, 1815. In the Star of November 17, 1815, William Hill, 
secretary of the trustees of the Raleigh Academy, made a report on its use of the Lancas- 
terian methods and stated that about 200 pupils had attended during "the late session of 
the Academy. A large portion of these were young ladies, not only of this but of several 
of the Southern States .... The Lancasterian school has been ably and attentively man- 
aged by the Rev. Mr. Evans, and contains upwards of 100 scholars." 

Interest in the South in Lancasterian Methods 381 

effects of the plan are also astonishing ... it has often been re- 
marked, that out of the immense number of children and grown 
persons instructed in Lancaster's schools, few, very few have 
been prosecuted in a court of justice for any offense." He 
recommended that the system be adopted in North Carolina 
"whenever it is practicable." President Joseph Caldwell, of the 
University of North Carolina, in his "Letters on Popular Educa- 
tion, Addressed to the People of North Carolina" in 1832, 
looked with high favor on the work of Bell and Lancaster. 8 In 
1826 Maryland established a state system of Lancasterian 
schools, but abandoned the undertaking two years later. 

Lancaster visited and lectured in some of the principal cities of 
Virginia where he seems to have been warmly received and 
where wide interest developed in his methods. He lectured in 
Richmond in early November, 1819, and his audience was made 
up of some of the most distinguished people of the city, including 
the governor, the Episcopal bishop and many members of the 
General Assembly. 9 On a visit to Washington he was accorded 
the privilege of the speaker's chair, and a newspaper in Baltimore 
made the following comment which was reprinted by the Virginia 
Herald (Fredericksburg) : 10 

Mr. Lancaster and Mr. Speaker Clay 

When slim Speaker Clay, looking up at his chair 
Saw that very fat man Joseph Lancaster there, 
He said, while with pleasure the pun through him thrilled, 
"Sir, I never before saw that chair so well filled !" 

The Teacher, well pleased, to reply was not slow ; 
For witty, though serious, was dignified Jo. 
He mildly remarked in the same punning way, 
"He who fills the chair is no better than Clay." 

While Lancaster was in this country he received and wrote 
many letters on his system. 11 Some of those written by 

8 Murphey's report and Caldwell's letters are given in Charles L. Coon, ed., The Beginnings 
of Public Education in North Carolina: A Documentary History, 1790-18^0: Murphey 
I, 123-146; Caldwell, n, 545-613. 

9 Maddox, The Free School Idea in Virginia Before the Civil War, pp. 25-30. 
"April 21, 1819. 

11 In the library of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts, are "at 
least a dozen large folio boxes" containing the papers of Joseph Lancaster. The originals 
or the letters that follow are the property of that society and are used here by its permission. 
Microcopies are in the library of The University of North Carolina. It is believed that 
some of these letters have not before been published. 

382 The North Carolina Historical Review 

southerners and given below indicate that the people in Virginia 
had wide interest in Lancaster and his scheme, and that in that 
state he "aroused enthusiasm among people hitherto indifferent. 
Virginia cities were among the first to interest themselves in this 
new scheme of cheap popular education that answered their need 
but did no violence to custom ... to have schools but to avoid 
public taxation for them." 12 This interest may have been 
stimulated by Lancaster's lectures and also by the nearness of an 
approved school at Georgetown, in the district of Columbia, for 
the training of teachers in the monitorial methods by Robert 
Ould, "an American disciple and personal representative of 
Joseph Lancaster," 13 Ould's first report reflected the interest in 
the South in the monitorial devices, and pointed out that 
Alexandria in Virginia had built a house and engaged a qualified 
teacher capable of taking care of 360 children and a lady of that 
town became interested in the monitorial system and organized 
a school capable of taking care of 450 children. Besides these, 
schools were reported in Petersburg, Winchester, Fredericks- 
burg, and King William County. On June 27, 1816, the corner 
stone of a Lancasterian school was laid in Richmond where the 
"children of the Wealthy are taught on most moderate terms and 
those of the Poor, gratis." The next year Reverend Samuel Low 
of the Episcopal Church of Norfolk made an address at the laying 
of the corner stone of "The Norfolk Lancasterian School," 
founded by the council of that city. David Anderson had left by 
his will of June 18, 1812, the sum of approximately $20,000 for 
the support of a free school in Petersburg. The fund became 
available in 1820 and the income from it was combined 14 with 
the town's quota of the Literary Fund of Virginia which had 
been established in 1810 and was used largely for the education 
of poor children. It was reported that Petersburg's quota of that 
fund was being used in 1822 for 130 poor children in "Anderson 
Academy," a monitorial school. Norfolk also used its quota of the 
Literary Fund to aid a Lancasterian Society in that city. 

The letters 15 given below should speak for themselves. Among 
the most interesting perhaps are those from Alexandre Deblieux 

13 Maddox, The Free School Idea in Virginia Before the Civil War, p. 27. 

13 One of the letters below seems to indicate that Lancaster got at odds with Ould. 

14 Note the suggestion of Elisha Wales in his address to Mayor Thomas Wallace. March 
10, 1821, pp. 892-396, below. 

1B No attempts are made to correct or modernize the spelling or grammar in these letters. 

Interest in the South in Lancasterian Methods 383 

and his address to the public in Louisiana; from James Steven- 
son; from Joseph C. Cabell, 16 a close and faithful worker with 
Thomas Jefferson on plans for public education and the 
university of Virginia; from a committee of students in The 
College of William and Mary ; from Elisha Wales and his address 
to the mayor of Petersburg; from John C. Calhoun; and the 
statement from Governor Thomas Mann Randolph of Virginia. 
And perhaps the saddest of the letters here used are those 
Lancaster wrote Elizabeth, "my dear Lady Treasurer" which, 
while disclosing affection for his daughter, seem also to exhibit 
his visionary and improvident as well as his mercenary traits. 

Natchitoches Louisiana 24 December 1818. 
Eevered Father 

It was as late as 1812 I had the first notice of your admirable system 
of Education. I was an enthusiast of it. I was at that time a mer- 
chant resident in Georgia. Sometime afterwards I lost my wife — I 
knew that education was much neglected in Louisiana. I could not 
practise in G ia not being conversant in the english language. I came 
. . . (illegible) this state with the remnant of my family — The 
french population, moreover their professors themselves knew noth- 
ing about the System. After a proper Communication I hinted the 
adoption of the institution. I was Discouraged every where; then, 
I determined myself to open a school. I had deeply meditated on 
your method, . . . (illegible) crossing the State of Tennessee. I had 
observed a Lancastrian school in operation in Nashville. The 11 th 
of november 1814 in New Orleans I addressed the public as you will 
see in the copy 17 here enclosed. 

I was alone without support; the trial was vain, and besides a 
little time after the english invaded this country, twelve months 
after, supported by the recommendation of the first public function- 
nairies chiefly of the judiciary, for the second time I opened my school, 
the trial succeeded pretty well; never before such proficiency in learn- 
ing had been seen ; the improvement of habits was astonishing. 

16 Cabell was also interested in Pestalozzian methods of teaching. In the interest of his 
health Cabell was in Europe from 1803 to 1806 when he visited Pestalozzi's celebrated school 
at Yverdun in company with William McClure, who brought Joseph Neef, once an assistant 
to Pestalozzi, to Philadelphia in 1806 where he opened a school; and as secretary of the 
board of school commissioners of Nelson County, Virginia, Cabell reported in 1824 that the 
teachers of that mountain county were acquainted with the Pestalozzian system about which 
he was himself enthusiastic. In that report he said that in Pestalozzianism was "a sure 
cure for the miserable conditions most of our schools have fallen into .... The new system 
has been adopted by the WHOLE of our public schools, and from present indications, it 
promises in the course of another year to become the exclusive and universal method." 
In 1830 the board of school commissioners of Washington County, Virginia, suggested in its 
report that the General Assembly of that state provide for the establishment of a school 
on the Pestalozzian plan in each county "for the education of young men as teachers." 

17 This address follows this letter. See below, pp. 385-387. 

384 The North Carolina Historical Review 

a letter is not a convenient way to enter to the particulars of the 
struggles which have been my lot. they could fill up a book. I have 
kept up my school 18 months. I have shut it, a month after I opened 
it again; and finally, exhausted with fatigue & vexation. I have been 
compelled to give over my establishment, not without injury to my 
meagre purse. 

I gave over my establishment, but hope was never lost, in the 
course of my life, never had I a thought of being a school master but 
I found the amiable love of my children so sweet a reward, that I 
could not brook the idea to quit my darling project forever. I ex- 
pected much of time. The news spreading more and more every day 
of the adoption of your method in f ranee, with a sort of enthousiasm 
— gained ground in the mind of a few of reflecting people, but the wor- 
ship to fortune and dissipation stifles benevolence amongst the multi- 
tude. Yet, I believe the happy moment arrived to prepare for a suc- 
cessful trial, those I have made, although unsuccessful, have made a 
favorable and deep impression on my character. I feel bound in duty 
to avail myself of this honorable distinction, of which after God, I am 
indebted to you, my dear father. 

A circumstance which has much injured the institution in this state 
is a lame american school, directed during two years by a young man 
making money, the families have been deceived because they have 
not inspected properly or at all this establishment, but in a contry 
where the qualifications imparted to Lancastrian teachers is an object 
of traffick, no less mischief ought to be expected; and where bank 
business and dancing, rule every things, the mischief shall not be 
avoided, unless the utmost efforts, and the most judicious be made 
with perseverance. 

as very few people knows the numerous obstacles I have experienced, 
I have generally been charged with inconstancy : that reproach, although 
unmerited, could be a now obstacle unconquerable, if I offered myself 
for the third time, here is my present determination. 

Next march I will go to f ranee; there, I will myself make choice of 
a maried french teacher. I will return with those two persons, to 
work united for the benefit of the two sexes. I think this the sole 
course practicable by me, being 58 years old. 

You will no doubt, remark in the inclosed address, that I said not a 
word about religion. I am of opinion that it will do sooner to bring 
them towards this sublime feeling in avoiding to hurt the dominant 
propensities; the sole suspicion of bigotism, or only of the design of 
establishing the sway of a religion, in their estimation too much severe, 
could produce disgust only, and should strengthen malice then armed 
with ridicule, they are very sick indeed, but not in state of despair; 
they deserve the pity of all benevolent men. in seizing the youth, we 
are certain of success, & by the children, with the female part we my 
bring the fathers & brothers to think about their perilous situation. 

Interest in the South in Lancasterian Methods 385 

My first step will be as before the establishment of a french school, 
if, as it is to be hoped, I meet with success one will be able to unite 
two schools, American & french; in mixing in that way the youth of 
the two parties the advantages are evidently invaluable. 

As in this country most part of the inhabitants are able to defray 
the expences of education, and besides, on account of habits and other 
motives, a very numerous school is not necessary. In New Orleans, 
schools for 150 scholars at most, would be sufficient. I'll find, no 
doubt, in France many articles concerning improvement you have added 
to your method. I want before my departure of your direction on the 
construction of school rooms. Will you have the goodness to send it to 
me. I intend the building for 300, 150 boys at one end, 150 girls at 
the other. You perceive this information is very urgent. I have two 
two books only. Improvements in education, printed in New York 
1807, and the epitome printed in Georgetown, published by T. W. & 
W. P. 1812. 

For the accomplishment of the object I have in view, the choice of 
two persons, I presume it will be necessary to consult some of the 
promoters of your method in France. A word of introduction of your 
hand would be a favor of infinite value. My obscurity and my long 
absence of my native country are my motives to beg of you so high a 

I have enlarged a little on the subject of the general disposition 
prevailing in this country, because I consider you as the Supreme 
Legislator in the reformation of mankind: being certain beforehand 
of your discretion. 

If you think these lines merit an answer, pleace direct it at New 
Orleans. I will send you the cost of any things you could send me, 
the charge by sea or land are nearly the same, by the post-office would 
be surer. 

God bless you my reverd Father 

With respect I am your most humble 
and affectionate servant 

Deblieux (alexandre) 

to the public — the great cause which agitates the world since the 
dawn of Nort American independence, can be decided but by a means 
quite opposite to that which has always been followed by former gov- 
ernments, their maxim was, to keep the people in ignorance. The 
most lucid opinion is now that light must be diffused : and I even think 
that the bloody contest will not end, until instruction will have made 
its way to the most obscure ranks of society. 

The eminent advantages reaped from the first labours of the College 
of New Orleans have been strongly felt, but that is only a privilege 
for the richest families — other distinguished schools are intended for 
families of less fortune, but yet in easy circumstances. I make offer 

j / > 

> » > » » » , • 

o » t . > » 

» m 

• I • • • j • , , 

• I » » . • « ■> », , 

» » 

386 The North Carolina Historical Review 

of my humble services to that multitude without fortune, which is 
more important than might be thought to recover from revolutions of 
empires — for sixteen years, a man dear to humanity has occupied 
himself constantly in England in the education of less fortunate class. 
I have a foresight that among the future and grateful generations, 
the names of Pitt, Fox and others will humble themselves before that 
of Joseph Lancaster author of this system. Intelligence to know what 
is right, virtue to do what is good, such is the aim of that benevolent 
man — the Lancastrian System has penetrated into America, and 
already it promises the happiest success in several States of the Union. 
I propose to introduce it into this — Louisiana, England and the North- 
ern States of the Union make provisions for the time to come ; think of 
yourselves, it is yet time; the ignorant people disgrace themselves 
and are always overcome by the instructed. If J. Lancaster had been 
born a century sooner, Europe could not have poured on America that 
deluge of vices and calamities which have put herself on the bring of 
ruin, had such System been introduced into America at the time of 
her independence, that independence and the public liberty would not 
now be seen in danger, as the consequences of the calculations and 
success of avarice. I return to my object — I propose myself to estab- 
lish simply a primary school, where the learning will consist of read- 
ing, writing and the elements of arithmetic; to which branches will 
essentially be added moral instruction. Grammar will be an object 
apart, the mode of teaching described and practised by the author, to 
warrant rapid progress it presents a great economy in paper and other 
small articles, for, the State supplies it for a great while. — the great 
means are: a mutation, the attraction of reward and fear of shame, 
an absolute exclusion of every Corporal — punishments ; the pupil cannot 
be idle or inatentive under the eye of alternate monitors, who, directed 
by the master, improve yet more when occupying this temporary 
employment, — . The necessary limits of this sketch do not permite 
to enter on the particulars of many things which are to promote order 
in the school and the good conduct of the scholar elsewhere, after . . . 
months of practice the public may judge of the establischment ; — the 
scholars who frequent the stablished schools are not those I solicit, 
but those whose parents cannot bear that expence according the old 
way and who do not go for that purpose, the price will be two dollars 
per month for reading and writing ( . . . (illegible) scholar begins 
together according to the System) and three dollars on adding arith- 
metic; that price will be reduced in proportion to the . . . (illegible) 
number of pupils, if it should take place; and if the institution . . . 

(illegible) deserve success, neither the son of the family quite need, 
or the daughter orphan would be excluded from it. — I can teach, 
for the present but the french langage but I can teach it to the ameri- 
cans and Spaniards, teach to the multitude to know its duties, let 

every man delight in fulfilling his, from that moment, tyranny is 


Interest in the South in Lancasterian Methods 387 

banished from the earth, from that very moment, the Chiefs of 
nations will make their glory and their happiness, in fulfilling those 
which providence prescribes them; as to us, let us think upon what 
will keep us from perishing, it is all we can do. but if we are Compas- 
sionate, the time past at the present warn us enough of our first duty, 
that of taking better care of our prosperity. 



Wellsburgh B. C, V a 13 February 1819 
Dear Sir 

My object in writing this letter is to know if I could by going to 
that place, (or any other,) be instructed by you on your System of 
Education and if so on what terms and how long it would take to 
acquire a knowledge of the system. What branches of education are 
taught and if a knowledge of the languages is necessary? What the 
probable expense to furnish a school room for two hundred or two 
hundred and fifty schollars &c. 

I have been engaged for nearly two years in teaching and with 
tolerable success. My desire is to be usefull as a teacher, and from 
what I have heard of your system I am led to believe that to be able 
to teach it well is the way to become most usefull. 

I have to regret that my circumstances at present will not allow me 
to spend much time or money perhaps not enough to acquire a compo- 
tent knowledge of the system. 

I had thought of going to Cincinnate (from whence I have encour- 
agement) where a school has been established said to on your System 
by a Mr Dawson; but seeing your publication respecting a Mr. Ed- 
wards I have given up the thoughts of going there lest I should be 
imposed on. 

Should the terms be such that I can comply with I will endeavour to 
be there or wereever I could get the necessary instruction some time 
in May perhaps April. Another Person expects to go with me on the 
same errand Your answer will be a favour conferred on 

Yours &c 

James Stevenson 

Mr. Joseph Lancaster 

Warminster. Virginia. 1 st July. 1819. 

There was scarcely any one in this country more gratified by the 
intelligence of your arrival in America than the stranger who now has 
the honor to address you. The perusal of various articles in the Edin- 
burgh Review, & some of your own writings had inspired me with a 
high respect for the Author of a system of elementary instruction by 

388 The North Carolina Historical Review 

which one man is competent to teach a thousand pupils more rapidly 
than the smallest number can be advanced in the ordinary method. 
As I understand your object in coming to the United States is to be 
useful thro the means of the diffusion of your new plan of education 
I hope I shall not trespass too far on your valuable time in addressing 
you a letter of enquiry in respect to it. That your system is immensely 
valuable in large towns where great numbers can be brought together 
into one school, no doubt can be entertained. But as we have but few 
of these in the United States, and as the greater part of the population, 
especially in the Southern section is thinly scattered over a vast extent 
of territory, the value of the system to this nation, will depend essen- 
tially upon its applicability to small Country Schools. Upon this point 
it is that I am particularly desirous of information. The Edinburgh 
Review states that "the Essence of the new method consists in econ- 
omizing the expence of education by teaching very large numbers at 
once. Beautiful & useful as it is, when applied to schools of a certain 
size, it is wholly inapplicable to small seminaries; at least it loses all 
its advantages. One teacher now superintends a school of 1000 or 
1200 children. Yet in pa: 137 of your work entitled improvements 
in education you say "The System of tuition & rewards which are 
described in the former part of this work, will be found well adapted 
to initiatory schools," and in pa: 135 you observe that "the number 
of children that attend a school of this class is very fluctuating, and 
seldom exceeds thirty." I have no recollection of anything in the 
context either of the Edinburgh Review or of your works, which would 
put this subject in a different point of view. There seems to me to 
be a plain difference of opinion between yourself and the Editor of the 
Review: and I hope you will be found to be correct, because upon this 
question depends almost the whole value of your system to the Ameri- 
can people. Of this you will be satisfied when I inform you that of 
the Rural initiatory schools in Virginia hardly one in a hundred con- 
sists of more than thirty scholars. I am of the opinion they would 
not average more than twenty: yet I believe that schools of thirty 
children- male & female, could be made up generally over the country 
if the introduction of an improved method depended on the presence 
of that number. Altho' in such small seminaries the economy of the 
system would in a great degree be lost, yet I hope the rapidity 
might be retained. If your present vocations allow you time to answer 
this enquiry, I should be exceedingly happy to hear from you : & should 
you give me the information I expect & desire, you may enable me to 
be of service to my country. 

I am, Sir, with great respect, your obt. servt. 

Joseph C. Cabell 

Mr. Lancaster 

Interest in the South in Lancasterian Methods 389 

William & Mary College. 17 th Nov r . 1819 
Esteemed Friend, 

Having been appointed a committee for the purpose, we beg leave 
to tender, in the name of the Students of this College, our respectful 
acknowledgments for the very polite invitation to your lectures — Be 
assured we have derived much pleasure from attending the develop- 
ment of your deservedly celebrated system of education, & your lucid 
lecture on the rise & progress of knowledge, & its importance in a 
national point of view. — We believe that Vice is the associate of ignor- 
ance, & that the growth of Virtue is always promoted by the diffusion 
of the lights of Science. As friends then to the cause of human hap- 
piness, we cannot withhold our small tribute of respect from one, who 
has the consoling belief that he has been instrumental in removing, 
in a good degree, the film from the eyes of thousands. The reflection, 
that such is the constitution of our Civil Government that Learning 
& Morality are its peculiar & stable props, impresses more forcibly 
on our minds sentiments of gratitude for your meritorius labors in 
facilitating & economizing the instruction of American Youth. — Fu- 
ture ages will register your name with those of Howard & Franklin, 
in consideration that you are one of the few who deserve the preemi- 
nent distinction of "amicus Humani generis" — Carry with you our 
fervent wishes for the more extensive success of your philanthropic 
exertions, & for your individual prosperity. — 

Jn°. N. Stratton 
Geo. E. Dromgoole 


Richmond Feby 20, 1820 

Thomas Mann Randolph (Governor of Virginia) acknowledges hav- 
ing received a letter from Joseph Lancaster, author of the Lancas- 
terian System of education, containing proposals for publishing, with- 
out delay, a cheap elementary work, explaining the principles upon 
which his plan of Universal Instruction is founded. 

T.M.R.will, with great satisfaction, avail himself of his situation as 
President of the Board of the Literary Fund of Virginia, to make an 
endeavour to procure for the work, as soon as he can have the oppor- 
tunity of laying it before the Directors, such encouragement as an 
Institution of so great importance is always able to afford if willing. 
It will give him great pleasure to be able to inform M r . Lancaster of 
the success of the endeavour as soon as it is determined. 

He begs leave to assure M r . Lancaster of the strong sense he cher- 
ishes of the high distinction in society such an invention gives, and of 
his sincere participation in the feelings of gratitude with which such 
radically useful labour must inspire all patriotic, philanthropic and 
benignant minds. 

390 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Richmond 25 th Feby 1820 

Your kind favours of the 2ond Inst came safe to hand. It affords me 
great pleasure to subscribe my name as one of the patrons of the 
valuable work you are about to publish upon the subject of general 
instruction. Every friend to the human family should ardently wish 
to see a general defusion of correct information, to consummate this 
grand object, appears to be your laudable design. I entertain the 
pleasing anticipation that your exertions will be realized. It is par- 
ticularly desireable in this free & happy Country that the people should 
be well informed, for this is the only sure basis, upon which rests a 
perpetration of our Religious, political, and civil rights. 

Yrs. very resplly 
Linn Banks 

N.B. I subscribed to the list held by your friend Col. Bassett for 
20 copies which he will return to you. 

L. Banks. 

Department of War 13 th March 1820 

I havent been able to examine your letter of the 21 st .. Ult. containing 
proposals to compile and publish a book for the use of Indian Schools, 
wch you handed to me, until very recently, and I find there is no 
information as to the plan of the book, to enable me to judge of its 
usefulness in the way contemplated, and of the propriety of affording 
its publication the encouragement which it is asked for. If you will 
furnish me with an outline of the book, an early answer upon the sub- 
ject will be given. 

I have the honor to be, your mo ob*. Ser*. 

J. C. Calhoun. 

Joseph Lancaster Petersburg 12 th mo. 5 th 1820 

Respected Friend 

This is to introduce the bearer Elisha Wales to thee, who wishes 
to qualify as a Teacher, under thee, if you can agree, I have not been 
much acquainted with Friend Wales although I have known him as a 
respectable inhabitant of Petersburg for a number of years, at the 
request of Robert Ritchie one of the most respectable citizens of this 
place, I give this letter to Friend Wales, under an assurance that he is 
a respectable worthy man. Any favors thou mayest feel free to show 
toward Elisha Wales, will be grateful to the feelings of my Friend 
Robert Ritchie and to thy Friend 

Ebenezer Thomas 

Interest in the South in Lancasterian Methods 391 

Department of War, 16 May 1820— 

Your letter of the 1st has been received. I am satisfied that the 
book which you propose to publish could be found very useful in the 
schools for the education of Indian children, and there is no objection 
to subscribing for the number of copies you propose, but they will be 
useless to the Department unless the Societies under whose patronage 
these schools are, or may be, established, could be induced to adopt 
your method of teaching in them. The School at Brainard, in the 
Cherokee Nation, is the only one now established on the Lancasterian 
plan, and judging from the success which has attended it, I have no 
doubt, if it were more generally introduced, that it would be found, 
not only the most agreeable to the Scholars, making their progress 
more easy, and rapid, but highly advantageous for the interests of 
the institutions themselves. The Department has no control over these 
benevolent societies as to the mode of teaching which they shall adopt 
in their schools, but it would be much gratified if they would cooperate 
with you so far as to adopt your plan in them generally, and in that 
case it would have no hesitation in taking any number of copies of your 
book that could be usefully disposed of among them; and it is very 
probable, if you were to open a correspondence with them, they would 
have no objection to acceding to your views. Should you be inclined 
to commence a correspondence with them upon this subject, — to give 
you an opportunity, I annex a list of the societies the most actively 
engaged in the cause of civilization. 18 An early communication of 
your success will be received with pleasure. 

The Letter which you enclosed for Sarah Corbet, was forwarded to 
her agreably to your request. As soon as I get through with the press 
of business left by Congress, I will see whether her wishes can be 
gratified. I have the honor to be your obt. Ser.* 

J. C. Calhoun 

Petersburg Dec. 6 th . 1820 
Dear Sir 

These few lines will be delivered to you by Mr Elisha Wales a citizen 
of Petersburg, he has resided here a considerable time, and I can with 
propriety say both from observation & report Mr Wales has supported 
a good character and that I believe him to be a deserving Man, Mr. 
Wales is desirous of being instructed in the general system of your 
mode of Education, and with a sincere wish to see the Lancastrian 
system of learning florish in Virginia, I do now introduce Mr Wales to 

18 The societies listed by Calhoun were The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign 
Missions, Worcester, Salem, Massachusetts; The Missionary Society of New York; The United 
Foreign Missionary Society of New York; The American Baptist Board of Foreign Missions; 
and The Society of United Brethren, Salem, North Carolina. 

392 The North Carolina Historical Review 

your notice, and any information & civilities you may extend towards 
him will be gratefully acknowledged by 

Your Friend & well wisher, 
Robert Boiling 

Petersburg 8 th March 1821 
Dear Sir 

I had the pleasure of addressing a few hasty lines to you, some two 
or three weeks since. Since that time, I have received your pamphlets. 
My object in this communication is more particularly to acquaint you 
with the measures that have been taken, and are still progressing, in 
order to establish a school upon the Lancasterian System in this town. 
No doubt you feel a deep interest as well as myself, in supporting the 
respectability and usefulness of the institution, and while I look to 
you as my guardian on this subject, you will probable receive this 
communication with some degree of pleasure, and render such assist- 
ance as you deem most conducive to its welfare — Upon my arrival here 
I found the Common Hall had held a meeting upon the subject; but as 
there were no plans brought forward some confusion took place, many 
ideas were suggested but without any System. Thus they left the 
business, and thus it remained till some time after my return from 
Baltimore. At the first meeting of the Common Hall after my arrival 
I addressed a communication to them, and in order to give you the 
whole ground of the business, I herein insert it verbatim, 

"Petersburg March 10 th 1821 

To Thomas Wallace Esq, Mayor of the Town of Petersburg — 

Sensible as are the inhabitants of Petersburg of the importance of 
education; appreciating as do they, a republican form of government, 
the social, civil and religious institutions dependent upon its main- 
tainance; knowing as they do that Education is the main pillar in its 
perpetuity, and the richest legacy that the present can bestow upon 
the rising generation, it would be superfluous if not arrogant in me 
to attempt a description of it — 

Much has been said, and apparently it is the wish of all that a 
school may be established in the town upon the Lancasterian System, 
and it is believed that the present time and circumstances are pecu- 
liarly favorable to such an undertaking. It is from these considera- 
tions, and a wish to see so valuable an institution established in Peters- 
burg that I make the following remarks — In order that an institution 
of this kind should meet the desires of the inhabitants of the town 
and prove beneficial to the rising generation, it will be necessary to 
mature and adopt plans, best calculated to extend its usefulness and 
secure its popularity 

Interest in the South in Lancasterian Methods 393 

Institutions founded upon narrow and contracted principles often 
fail of the good intended, when otherwise they would have succeeded 
and proven beneficial, had their liberality been equal to their usefulness 

A School gotten up exclusively for the poor, at this time and in this 
place, it is believed would be unpopular, and would not insure that 
advantage to the poor themselves as it would do, were it upon a more 
extended & liberal plan — The poorer class are not without their feel- 
ings, and generally possess pride in as high degree as the more wealthy, 
and are equally as tenacious of their sense of respectability, they are 
loath, and even sometimes refuse to send their children to school merely 
because it is called a poor or charity school. It is believed they might 
participate in a school upon the Lancasterian System with the more 
wealthy, with double advantage to themselves, and at the same time, 
without the least disadvantage to any: Genius would be classed with 
genius, and a degree of sociability and sympathy excited: the one 
would feel a degree of emulation to equal ; and the other to excel which 
would be of mutual advantage to both. The Lancasterian System is 
certainly the most economical mode of instruction, and perhaps better 
calculated to advance pupils than any that has yet been made known. 
The . . . (illegible) which has served to impede its progress, rather than 
to display its usefulness ; notwithstanding, it is becoming very popular, 
and probably will be adopted by most schools in our Country — It is 
presumed the following plan if adopted by the Common Hall, will 
secure the contemplated advantages; lessen the expences of the weal- 
thy; increase the privileges of the poor, and become an institution 
respectable and useful to the town 

First let the donations of Mr Anderson 19 and the Literary fund be 
united and a School be established upon the Lancasterian System. As 
the advantage of the poor would be increased by this plan no doubt 
can arise, but that the desires of the benevolent Anderson would be 
more fully met than in any other way; and the inhabitants of Peters- 
burg are bound as well by obligation as interest to adopt the best mode 
for meeting his wishes. The literary funds for the City of Richmond 
are appropriated to the Lancastrian School, besides which the Common 
Hall have appropriated six hundred dollars annually. 

In the next place let the Common Hall appoint a board of nine or 
twelve trustees, with certain powers & duties — With power to controul 
and appropriate to the best advantage the funds of the institution; 
to procure a suitable house and the necessary apparatus; to appoint a 
teacher & determine his salary; to appoint a President, Secretary & 
Treasurer, or such officers as they deem necessary ; to adopt such rules, 
regulations or bye laws for the management of the school as they deem 
most expedient for its best interest. Let it be their duty to look out 
and procure scholars from every class in town; to make out a detailed 

18 See p. 382, p. 14, above. 

394 The North Carolina Historical Review 

report of the finances, progress and situation of the school annually 
or oftener to the Common Hall — 

That the . . . (illegible) it the duty of their Secretary to keep a 
Journal . . . (illegible) their proceedings; that the board also make it 
the duty of their Treasurer to keep an accurate account of all receipts 
and expenditures, and that it also be his duty to issue tickets of admis- 
sion to each and every schollar; That the officers of the board of such 
as they choose to appoint, constitute a Committee for examining the 
school from time to time; for admitting all such applicants as they 
deem proper; determine the price of tuition, having regard to the 
pecuniary circumstances of the applicants — 

In making the above arrangements it has not been done without 
visiting and consulting the institution at Richmond, and although not 
precisely the same is an improvement upon their plan. Should the 
Common Hall adopt the foregoing plan, the way will be prepared to 
become an incorporated body, and a foundation laid for its extention 
perpetuity & usefulness. As every schollar would be furnished with a 
ticket of admission and no one but the committee or board know who or 
how much was paid for it ; the name of poor or Charity school would 
not be known; thus its popularity would be secured. The System is 
peculiarly calculated to admit a large number of schollars, and it is 
presumed the funds already anticipated, together with what will arise 
from tuition fees, will be more than sufficient to support the institu- 
tion. Nevertheless in commencing so important an undertaking the 
Common Hall would probably very cheerfully appropriate a sum equal 
to the necessary fixtures and apparatus of a school room, and become 
the holder of that property and should they contribute a small sum 
annually, it is probable its funds would soon be adequate to building 
a house for the purpose. The Common Hall of Richmond besides the 
annual sum of six hundred dollars authorised the Chamberlain to sell 
lands and pay over to the trustees of the Lancasterian School, the 
sum of five thousand dollars if so much was required to build a house 
for the institution — Confident that the means, the enterprise, and the 
liberality of the Citizens of Petersburg were not behind those of other 
places, and that they would assuredly establish a school upon the Lan- 
casterian System — I have been at considerable pains and expense to 
acquire a thourough & practical knowledge of the System from under 
the immediate tuition of its founder; nor I am I yet to be pursuaded 
but that they will establish the school, and upon such liberal principles 
as that its utility can be fairly proved ; if so, having the recommenda- 
tion of Mr. Lancaster, I shall offer as a candidate for the mastership, 
and should I have the honor of the appointment, my best exertions 
will be made to render the system both respectable & useful 

Elisha Wales. 

This address was received with much encomium, and had the ap- 
pointment of a teacher then taken place, there probably would not have 

Interest in the South in Lancasterian Methods 395 

been a dissenting voice. The Hall completely met my wishes upon the 
subject; appointed twelve trustees with full powers to establish and 
manage the school, and also granted the sum of three hundred dollars 
for the purpose of renting and fitting up a house and the necessary 
apparatus. The Hall having so completely met my views and circum- 
stances being thus situated, you may readily suppose my anticipations 
and prospects were bright. They were truely so no merely because I 
was to have the appointment of teacher, but with that the foundation 
was laid upon which the school would so be built, as to be iminently 
useful, an honor to the founder of the system, and a satisfaction to the 
teachers as well as a benefit to the rising generation and an honor to 
the . . . (illegible) But Sir! much to my mortification, and that of 
others; measures have been taken, which if persisted in, will cripple 
and impede, if not destroy its usefulness; and probably bring a re- 
proach upon the system — Some of the trustees not acquainted with 
establishing schools upon liberal principles, are vindicating very nar- 
row and contracted ideas. They say the school must be exclusively 
for the poor ; everything must be conducted upon a parsimonious plan, 
which by the way, is to keep the poor still poor, and the ignorant still 

Shortly after the trustees were appointed a certain gentleman of the 
town of the Methodist persuasion (who I am told has several times 
attempted to get a common school and after having obtained a few 
schollars, very shortly lost them again) — has with some of his friends 
been round to the trustees individually, and obtained assurances from 
many of them that if he would qualify for the mastership they would 
support him; he has accordingly left town and gone to Richmond and 
from thence is going to Norfolk to finish his qualifications and knowl- 
edge of the Lancasterian System. Some of the trustees are methodists 
and will use their influence and support their Brother at all hazzards; 
the place will very well suit the man, but how well the man suit the 
place is very doubtful. Thus public utility is to be sacrificed at the 
Shrine of individual favoritism — Some of the Trustees are gentlemen 
of information and liberal sentiments, they are highly mortified and 
are endeavouring to counteract these things, but I am somewhat ap- 
prehensive that prepossession and superstition have already taken 
such deep root that it will be of little avail, at the same time I cannot 
but hope the majority will rise above this groveling disposition. — 
already do they think they have been premature in locating a house, 
and will probably attempt to get one more central and convenient — 

Thus, after having accomplished my most sanguine wishes; I am 
likely to be debarred from a situation in which I was in hopes to have 
been eminently useful to the rising generation and to have supported 
the dignity of your System of Education ; these were determinations in 
my own mind, to accomplish which, would have been my highest ambi- 

396 The North Carolina Historical Review 

tion, nor would any exertions within the compass of my abilities have 
been wanting — 

Now while you respect the good of mankind and particularly the 
rising generation, and the creditability of your System of education, I 
wish you to write me upon the subject, with an address to the trustees, 
with such reflections and remarks as you think best calculated to main- 
tain the respectability and usefulness of your System, at the same time 
requesting them not make use of it in such a manner as may bring a 
reproach upon it, and with such observations and recommendations 
as you think your humble servant . . . (illegible) to, The board have 
organized themselves by appointing Mr. John Grammer, President, 
Lewis Mabry, Secratary . . . (illegible) Robert Ritchie, Treasurer. 
They have adopted regulations for their government, which upon the 
whole are pretty good and can be altered whenever it is found neces- 
sary to so do. The appointment of teacher is to take place in the 
course of two or three weeks, it is thought the other gentleman will be 
qualified by that time — 

Accept the assurance of my regard — 

Elisha Wales 

So Carolina 

Charleston 15 th May 1821 
Mr. Joseph Lancaster 


You will I hope excuse the liberty I have taken in addressing one 
with whom I have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance. Your 
name however is as familiar to me as the names of Washington, Locke, 
Newton, Jenner, or any other benefactor of mankind — 

No subject has occupied my mind more than the Education of youth ; 
& (since I have become the Father of six) none has given me more 
uneasiness — I have always been convinced that the tyranny practiced 
in our schools, illy suited the infant mind; that children were to be 
governed by love not by the rod — Had I ever doubted, the perusal of 
your System of Education alone would have produced conviction. 

A work of yours, called "Lancasterian System of Education with 
Improvements" fell into my hands a few days since — It was in a very 
mutilated state, & some pages missing. All that was of it, I read with 
much delight, & am firmly of the opinion that you have pursued the 
only true plan — I know not where this work is to be procured & there- 
fore have to request you to forward me a copy, & any other writing 
of yours which may give me light on this important subject, as I have 

Interest in the South in Lancasterian Methods 397 

resolved to become the Instructor of my own Children, & a few of my 
Friend's, until some one more competent shall adopt your method — 

I am very respectfully etc. 

W. F. Shackelford 

The cost of whatever you may be pleased to send me shall be speedily 

Harpers' Ferry, 30, July, 1821 

Your letter has just been received — The intimation of visiting us, 
an occurrence I had scarcely ventured to hope for, will, if put in execu- 
tion, do away the necessity of writing to you so fully upon the subject 
as I must otherwise have done — In addition to the advantages of 
personal observation over those of written communications in a case 
of this kind, your presence may tend to the speedy removal of obstacles 
to the general introduction here of your method of teaching which 
might otherwise prove very troublesome & greatly retard its progress — 

Harper's ferry is situated at the junction of the Shenandoah with 
the Potomack where they pass through the Blue ridge — the views are 
very striking & are mentioned by M r Jefferson, in his Notes on Vir- 
ginia, as worth a voyage across the Atlantic, — It is about sixty miles 
from Baltimore — The road to it passes through Frederick town an 
agreeable place about eighteen miles from the ferry — A visit to this 
more healthy & elevated region, at this season, might prove beneficial 
on the score of health — 

In reply to your enquiries — 1 st The number of pupils at the school 
in which I am more immediately interested is fifty. 

2 nd . Its affairs are managed by a Committee of three persons (of 
which I am one) chosen annually by those parents whose children 
attend at it — 

3 d The room is on the ground floor of a very poorly constructed build- 
ing, erected for a very different purpose — Its size is about 15 feet 
by 30 feet — 

4 th The Committee would exert themselves to have either that room 
or a better put in proper order for one of your Schools upon being 
authorized to do it by the Superintendent of the Armoury — 

5 th There are four schools at this place all under the direction of the 
Superintendant of the Armoury — 

6 th Each teacher receives about four hundred dollars per year — 

Harper's ferry is the seat of one of our National Armouries — It is 
under the immediate care of the Superintendant (James Stubblefield) 
& contains about thirteen hundred inhabitants, the greater part of 
whom are connected with the Armoury. They live in houses built at 
the Public expense — Formerly they paid no rent, but, a few years 
since, a moderate one was laid on each tenement & the proceeds have 

398 The North Carolina Historical Review 

been applied to the instruction of the Children — The amount thus 
raised (about 1600 doll, per annum) is divided between four schools 
of about 50 scholars each — In consequence of which division each 
teacher receives an amount far below what a good one ought to — 

If the whole of it were to be applied to one School on your plan, 
under a good teacher, the Children would be much better taught than 
they have ever yet been & in much less time, & with much more econo- 
my, for (judging from my own children) the waste of Books & Sta- 
tionary is extravagantly great 

The Teachers' Salary under such an arrangement might be made 
adequate to the merits of a good one & the remainder would furnish 
the means in conjunction with those already existing, for erecting a 
good building & providing all such things as are necessary for such an 

There are obstacles in the way to suc(h) general change which 
without your personal assistance can only be overcome by slow degrees 
but with it may, perhaps, be removed in a shorter time & without 
much difficulty — 

If you should conclude to visit Harpers ferry we should be happy 
to have your company at our house during your stay & should take 
much satisfaction in contributing to render it as agreeable to you as 

With the highest esteem 
Your obt. servt. 

Mr. Joseph Lancaster John H. Hall 

Harpers' ferry 10. Aug. 1821. 

As I have not received any notice of the safe arrival to your hands 
of my letter of 30. July 1821. In reply to one from you on the subject 
of a teacher for this place — I am apprehensive of something impropper 
respecting it. I would ask the favor of you to inform me whether 
there is any ground for such suspicions — 

Your obt. servt. 
Mr. Joseph Lancaster. John H. Hall 

Harper's ferry 20 May 1822. 

Mr Stubblefield requests me to inform you that the School-room 
will not be ready untill the first of June — It will be a good one in most 
respects has a brick floor & desks (making) according to your direc- 
tions — We do not perceive that you make any difference in the height 
of your desks would not a little be advantageous ? As there will be 12, 
suppose the one which is farthest from the master should be 2 feet 4 

Interest in the South in Lancasterian Methods 399 

& the others diminish successively in height % inch each — & the forms 
% inch each, leaving the front desk 1 foot 10 inches in height & the 
front form lO 1 /^ inches 

Mrs Hall & Miss Preble join me in respects to you & yours — 

Your obt. servt. 
Mr. Joseph Lancaster John H. Hall 

Harper's Ferry 2. June 1822. 

We perceive with much regret, by your letter of 24 th Ult. that you 
too have been visited with sickness — Unless you are too weak for it an 
excursion to Harper's ferry might conduce to your more rapid resto- 
ration — The air on our hill, at this time, seems like salubrity itself & 
with the attentions we should be happy to pay to our visitor we cannot 
but think would prove of some service to him — 

As to arrangements for slates & it appears to me advisable not to 
make any call upon the subscribers to the Lancasterian school untill 
the room is completed when we will have another meeting & endeavor to 
excite, anew, an interest in its favor which at present is almost extin- 
guished by the base surmises & gross misrepresentations of its 
enemies — It would be better to lose a week then than now to risque 
more serious consequences by such a call in the present state of their 
feelings, while the school room remains unfinished, & it will remain 
so at least two weeks longer — Every uneasiness on the part of the 
subscribers is fomented with the utmost perseverance by every art 
which desperate worthlessness can practice upon suspicious ignorance 
— But these practices will, I trust, recoil upon their abettors & in the 
end more effectually secure their own defeat — In the meantime it is 
desirable that we should ascertain the amount at which the slates & 
pencils for our school may be procured including commissions, that, 
at a more favorable time, we may be prepared to obtain them with the 
least delay possible. The cost of the lessons we have already received 
from your letter of — Will you do us the favor of ascertaining that of 

slates &? . , " . , 

Accept our best wishes 


Your obt. servt. 

John. H. Hall. 

Mr. Joseph Lancaster 

I have just seen Mr. Stubblefield & upon a representation of the gen- 
eral feeling, at this moment, in respect to the school he consents to be 
responsible for the Lessons, untill the money can be repaid him from 

our subscribers — T TT TT „ 

J. H. Hall. 

400 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Fredericksburgh lOmo 26 1819 
Dear Elizabeth, 

I arrived here this morning — visited School today — lecture here 
tonight, and tomorrow pass on to Richmond Virginia — address there. 
I find that Robert Ould has made 200$ in fees for training teachers — 
Yet to borrow a dollar of him would be little better than attempting to 
bleed a stone. I have found a friend whose heart is open, and his hand 
stretched out. I have no doubt of the Rent being received by ye 31 
(I mean one quarter) — if I can command both, which I think likely 



And now, my dear Darling, write to me and cheer up; I work for 
One who has never left or forsaken me, and J believe never will. Con- 
fidence in Him in gloomy times, has always been my consolation and 
my Crown. May it be thine! and may'st thous learn it early, for in 
this wild and wicked world, Sin and ingratitude require that our Souls 
should find shelter from their efforts, in the Rock of Ages. Remember 
that all we can ever suffer here, is short of what we merit from Omnip- 
tence : and that our great afflictions are light compared with the awful- 
ness of our final change — which future hope alone can make easy, and 
render our career triumphant over the Grave in His faith which hath 
said, "Oh Death I will be thy Death" — My heart has been touched 
by Divine Love — Oh for early dedication and lasting faithfulness! I 
had the God of thy Father, and they Father's Father, bless-comfort 
and keep they by night and by day! I implore His blessing on thy 
head, and never cease to love thee all the day long. 

Be assured I shall not travel long — I feel that I must settle; the 
Lord direct me! and may I never succeed but in the right place! — 
that, I believe, is somewhere in this country, perhaps in Virginia. Ere 
long I shall know. My love to my Brother and the young men, tell 
them to dismiss alarms-fear God and take courage, and all will be well. 
Tomorrow I shall write again with some of the needful.* 

Tell R. Jones, Cook is a noble fellow — he will see it; but Ould is a 
selfish contemptible miser, I have found him out completely. 

*I shall then give further directions. Give my love to thy Mother — 
remember me affectionately to Robinson. I shall now be at work, lectur- 
ing, which will cheer my heart, and, I hope, fill thy pocket, my dar Lady 
Treasurer, after all and in all, everything I have known to be done by 
my beloved child, in my absence, has met my approbation. I was 
delighted to see thee again, — to see thee so much lika a woman. I 
bless the Lord for the firmness of thy mind. May He be thy support 
and bless thee, is the prayer of 

thy affectionate father 

Jos Lancaster 

Interest in the South in Lancasterian Methods 401 

Richmond/Virginia, 10 mo 28—1819 
My Dear Child, 

I lectured twice at Fredericksburgh — only 84 people attended, but 
the produce was 42 dollars — at 50 cents each person : of which I remit 
15 — Jones will be able to get them changed at 3 or 4 cents discount, 
as they are very good Notes and in high repute — I have not time to get 
them exchanged for United States money — but will do so with my next. 

There is a place here called the Capitol (in allusion to the Capitol 
in which the Senate of ancient Rome used to meet) where the Legis- 
lature of this State usually meet. Formerly, it was not uncommon 
for Lectures to be given it — latterly, it has been forbidden; but the 
Governor and Council have unanimously granted it in my favour — an 
honour unexpected, and one which will have its due effect in Richmond. 
Tomorrow (7 th day evening) 2 nd day and 3 rd day are fixed for Lectures 
here, and 4 th day, I trust, at Petersburgh. 

The Legislature does not meet here for a month, when I hope to be 
among them — and afterwards (the next week to my being here) in 
Washington. The people here are not like the Bostonians; they do 
not put in buttons — bad silver and copper — forged notes and bits of 
tin; but they pay their 50 cents each and call it cheap. I am told, that 
at Charleston in Carolina they think nothing of a dollar for a Lecture, 
but I am not yet disposed to try Charleston. 

Respecting the Rent, I have no doubt that the Landlord will be easy 
a few days, for his own credit sake. 

The next Post, or perhaps two, I expect you will receive from two 
friends of mine, 50$, and as much more from myself, which will meet 
the Rent : the present is for my house and family. 

I can have little doubt (from my Lectures in the Town of Freder- 
icksburgh and the expectation here) but that the Scene is changed, and 
you may all hope for the best. Expect to hear from me every Post, 
and believe me with Love to all and true affection 

thy loving Father 

Joseph Lancaster. 
Direct to me 

Post Office Norfolk, Virginia 

Richmond 11 mo 2 1819 
My dear Elizabeth, 

The enclosed will shew thee that the door of hope is opening bright 
— tomorro's post will bring as much more. It is to thee I send my 
money, it being part of my plan of education, to accustom thee to the 
use of it; and I shall be very uneasy if I do not receive letters from 
thee in thy own hand. I hope thou will always write thy letters to me 
without allowing any one to take them-and put them into the Post 

402 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Office thyself — write me along letter and tell me thy heart. Remember, 
I have given thy uncle no authority over thee-he has no power to exact 
obedience-thou art mine, and I allow none to control thee but myself; 
thou knowest I love thee; and do not let the fear of grieving me add 
to my troubles, by keeping thee silent. I know that thou wast — 
unhappy at the thought of thy uncle coming to the house — be assured I 
shall very soon be in Philadelphia if anything unpleasant occur — that 
I would be near thee and not allow of separation, but there seems a 
bright prospect here. 

My lectures have produced within a week above 90$ — the enclosed 
makes 45$ I have sent home ; I hope to send more tomorrow. Do write 
to me and tell me how thou art. 

I have requested Friend Robinson to burn the deed — see it done if 
needful; I apprehend it is not legal and may do harm — I see we must 
trust in God and not in man for our prosperity — we shall prosper but 
not by that means. 

I hope 'ere long to assist thee in a Girls School in this place. Thou 
knows how to treat thy Uncle with proper respect — but thy obedience 
to him is thy own pleasure, for I have full confidence in thee, 
direct Post Office Norfolk Virginia if write immly. 

[No signature] 

Petersburgh, Virginia 11 mo 4, 1819 
Dear Child, 

I wish thee to write to me at length, and put the letter in the P. 
Office thyself. Give my love to thy mother and tell her to write to me 
also, and to entrust the letter only to thy care to put in the Post Office. 
I am quite uneasy that I had no letter from thee at Washington or 
Richmond, do let me have letters by Return of Post P. O. Norfolk. 

Enclosed are 20$ — more will come after my next lecture tonight. . . . 


Guide to the Manuscript Collections in the Duke University Library. By 
Nannie M. Tilley and Noma Lee Goodwin. Historical Papers of the Trinity 
College Historical Society, Series XXVII-XXVIII. (Durham: Duke Uni- 
versity Press. 1947. Pp. viii, 362. $2.00.) 

More than fifty years ago a collection of manuscript materials 
was begun by the Trinity College Historical Society under the 
leadership of John Spencer Bassett. Spasmodic and unorgan- 
ized at first, the project was nevertheless carried on by the zeal 
and labors of others, such as William Kenneth Boyd and R. L. 
Flowers, and by the substantial financial assistance of William 
Washington Flowers and has by now been expanded into the very 
significant manuscript collection of Duke University library. 
Today this collection numbers approximately a million and a half 
items and continues to grow at the rate of sixty thousand to 
seventy-five thousand items yearly. 

For almost forty years these materials remained only a mass of 
unaccessioned and uncatalogued manuscripts, largely unknown, 
and scarcely used except by those scholars who had participated 
in their accumulation. But in 1931, by which time the collection 
had begun to increase in scope and significance as well as in 
numbers, the task of recording and arrangement was begun and 
has culminated in the present Guide, in the making of which 
many persons have participated. 

The Guide reveals that the Duke manuscript collection is 
strongest in the field of southern history, and especially strong 
in records pertaining to the Civil War. These records consist 
of countless diaries and letters of soldiers, both federal and con- 
federate, many of them having been written by soldiers of no 
rank and little education. Also there are military reports, ros- 
ters, a large set of court records, and numerous letters and pa- 
pers of executive departments of the Confederate government. 
From these materials may be gleaned much information on such 
subjects as slavery, plantation life, agriculture, manufactures, 
mercantile pursuits, literature and literary figures, education, 
and religion in the South. Included are original manuscript 
census returns for four southern states from 1850 to 1880, por- 
traying faithfully social and economic life in Georgia, Kentucky, 
Louisiana, and Tennessee. Geographically, the most numerous 
and important sets of papers relate to the history of Alabama, 


404 The North Carolina Historical Review 

Georgia, South Carolina and, above all, Virginia, concerning 
which the collection is probably richest of all. There are many 
collections pertaining to North Carolina, but they do not match 
the papers relating to the states just named either in size or in 
comprehensiveness. These southern materials are so numerous 
and of such importance that they cannot be ignored or neglected 
by any serious student of the history of the South, especially in 
the period of the Confederacy. 

But the collection contains many manuscripts of great value 
in addition to its southern materials. There are papers which 
relate to a number of English literary figures, including Southey 
and Tennyson, a substantial Whitman collection, and even a few 
medieval manuscripts. Among the non-southern materials 
doubtless the most important of all the collections are the records 
of the Socialist party of America, containing 95,000 items and 
including the unpublished records of party councils and proceed